09 December 2010

Wither; Lauren DeStefano

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A semi-mash-up of dystopian books like The Children of Man and The Handmaid's Tale as well as The Hunger Games and Matched with a hint of "Big Love", Wither takes place in a proximate future when we've cured cancer (among other things) but it's cost us our longevity. Men die at 25, women at 20, but that's newer generations. First generations, however, have normal lifelines, provide they aren't killed by other means.

Rhine's parents, scientists, were killed in an accident so now she and her twin brother Rowan are hiding in and protecting their family home, but one day Rhine is kidnapped and brought with a number of other women elsewhere. There's a culling and she and two others end up in a mansion, replacement/successor wives for Lady Rose, who has reached 20 and is now dying. Their husband, Linden, is a rather ineffectual boy, under his doctor/scientist father Vaughn's thumb, in addition to just being 20 with all the maturity that brings. Held captive in Florida, Rhine plots and plans to get home - or at least away - as she tries to care for her sister wives and falls in love with Gabriel, one of the house servants.

The Hunger Games tie-in comes from the stated fact that there was some sort of war and everything except North America has been destroyed. Not just bombed, but missing. Think "Waterworld" with one continent. District 13, anyone? And, of course, this is the first in a trilogy, so the plot stretches a bit at times so as to fill space until the next installment.

ARC provided by publisher.

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