Welcome back, everyone! Today I'm going to talk (ok, yeah maybe rant a little too) about the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. There may be some mild spoilers below.
The whole trilogy centers around a 16 year old girl named Rhine, who lives in a post apocalyptic world where all men die at age 25 and women die at age 20 due to a strange virus that no one has figured out how to cure. Rich men are expected to buy multiple wives to give birth to children and keep the human race alive. Rhine has been kidnapped and married off to a man named Linden. Linden himself seems rather benign but his father, a great scientist, is incredibly creepy and may be doing some illegal experiments in the house. Rhine can only think of escape and finding her twin brother.
The first book, Wither, is actually pretty good (I gave it 4 out of 5 stars). The whole book takes place in the mansion where she is married to Linden. I felt really nauseated while reading it because of the whole idea of multiple underage wives-- especially the depiction of one of her sister wives, Cecily, who is 13 and gets pregnant first. The fact that I had such a visceral reaction to the book is a positive one, I think. My distaste for this dystopian world was because it's a terrible one. The writing is very good and many times the phrasing is eloquent and tinged with a sad beauty. My biggest issue with this book (other than the fact that I had some serious ethical issues with the world presented) is that it just seemed like a build up to the rest of the trilogy. Rhine talks and "plans" of running away, but it takes her how many pages to actually do this? I also really doubted that Rhine would have gotten away in this society and household with her virginity intact. Just saying. The strength of the book lies in the writing and the development of other characters. My favorite is probably the sad and ephemeral Jenna, the oldest sister wife.
Vote on my Amazon review:Wither review
I felt that the second book would really prove whether or not this
trilogy had staying power. Unfortunately, the second book suffers from
major middle book syndrome. It takes place right after the end of
Wither, when she finally escapes the house. I'll try not to give too
much away, but in essence, I feel like not much happens in this book.
She is searching for her brother (yes, still-- we never get to see this
kid), but unsurprisingly, runs into a lot of difficulty along the way.
She stumbles on a whore house and then stays captive by the madame who
runs it. This takes up half of the book. I just found myself growing
more and more frustrated. Finally, in the last few pages of the book, we
have more plot development. But in my opinion it's too little, too
late. I awarded this book 2 out of 5 stars.
Vote on my Amazon review: Fever review
Do you like this trilogy so far? Why or why not?
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