Chemical Garden #1
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: March 1, 2011
Hardcover, 358 pages
Barnes and Noble
I have been working on writing, as one day I would liek to have one of the many books that are in my head actually written down on paper and maybe even published and this book is a prime example of grabbing the reader from the get-go. The first few pages when Rhine gets kidnapped, put in the back of a van and dragged out to picked out by a wealthy man to be his next bride to have his children. She is, unluckily chosen and very quickly, luck to have been chosen because they shoot all the girls he did not choose.
This book touched me so deeply from just being a woman to knowing what it is like to want to be free not just in body but from mind and spirit too. The challenge of choosing the people who you have been forced to live with and the life you could one day have, if only you didn't get attached. My favorite character was, of course, Rhine the main character whose life is turned upside down and imprisoned in a house of mirrors where nothing is what it seems and yet she is forced to find her own happiness. There is her two sister wives, Jenna and Cecily who live amongst her, but couldn't be more different. Jenna is a few years from her dying age, wants nothing more than to just die in peace whereas Cecily dreams of love, children and wealth only to discover things are not as they seem.
I don't know that I will ever get over the feelings when reading this book that talks about the things I have every day of my life as being old and nevermore. Things like roses, handkerchiefs, food, a bed, living freely, traveling, not being locked up; all of these things I take for granted. As I read Wither, I realize over and over how lucky I am to be experiencing these things as they grow and thrive around me. I am allowed to choose the one I want to live with. I can choose to work, to play, to whatever my heart desires. These things, I forget, are not allowed to all.
The sadness with which Rhine lives grips me and holds on. My heart and soul cry for her; the loss of her brother, even the little life they had together, it is still gone. Her life forced to share a bed with a stranger, a life with two other women and a home with nothing she truly needs. She is lucky to be able to see the world with kindness, even in it's darkest days like the day she is forcefully married to a wealthy man after other girls were shot point blank because they were not as pretty. She sees Gabriel, one of the help as a friend and a confidant. She sees Rose, her new husband's dying wife as someone she can briefly enjoy stolen moments of laughter and sharing. In her new world, where little trust is had, she finds it. She builds a some-what at arms length relationship with her sister wives and all the while wanting, needing to get out and live her own life of her own choosing.
The journey which Rhine goes through is amazing and the description and emotions Lauren DeStefano uses are truly what make this book great. I could not put this book down and books don't get better than that. Glad to know this is one of three books in the series. I cannot wait for the next one.
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left