Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > The Chemical Garden Trilogy Bk 1: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The Chemical Garden Trilogy Bk 1: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Pub. HarperVoyager, 2011.

The background to this first in a series is a post- holocaust world in which the U.S.A  survives but it is a changed world.

Seventy years earlier scientists created a perfect generation free from diseases and allergies. This generation still exist and are healthy and robust. Unfortunately their children and their children’s children suffer from an incurable virus that limits a males life span to 25 years and a female life span to 20 years.

The rich employ “Gatherers” to hunt young girls for breeding purposes to secure survival of the species and of their own property.

Rhine is 16 years old and is captured and purchased by Linden along with two other girls Cecily and Jenna. Linden marries all three and keeps them imprisoned in an amazing property with the intention of breeding with all of them.

Rhine resists Linden by adopting the stance “you can trap more things with honey than you can with vinegar”. Rhine wants to escape back to her twin brother Rowan but will she be able to?

Into the plot comes a male servant of Linden’s called Gabriel and this provides the love story in a clever plot. To top it off there is a superb villain in Housemaster Vaughn, you will hate him.

I just loved this story. It has an original plot is well written and there are good moral and ethical issues to ponder. Will you do anything to survive? How can you live a fulfilling life if such a short time span? Can the virus be cured? What goes on in the outside world?

High school students will love this novel with the knowledge that there are two more to come. I  will be reading them for one.

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