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Wither: The Chemical Garden Trilogy | [Lauren DeStefano]

Wither: The Chemical Garden Trilogy

Lauren DeStefano makes a stellar debut with this chilling tale. The first installment of a planned trilogy, Wither introduces listeners to a bleak world where a mysterious disease kills most women by the age of 20 and men by the age of 25. Like many girls her age, 16-year-old Rhine has been captured and forced into marriage in an effort to keep the population growing. But, despite her new husband’s wealth, she wants nothing more than to escape her servitude and return home before time runs out.
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Publisher's Summary

Lauren DeStefano makes a stellar debut with this chilling tale. The first installment of a planned trilogy, Wither introduces listeners to a bleak world where a mysterious disease kills most women by the age of 20 and men by the age of 25. Like many girls her age, 16-year-old Rhine has been captured and forced into marriage in an effort to keep the population growing. But, despite her new husband’s wealth, she wants nothing more than to escape her servitude and return home before time runs out.

©2011 Lauren DeStefano (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (224 )
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3 star
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Overall
3.7 (194 )
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Story
3.9 (190 )
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  •  
    FanB14 Rockville, VA, United States 05-07-12
    FanB14 Rockville, VA, United States 05-07-12 Member Since 2011

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Almost There..."
    What did you like best about Wither? What did you like least?

    I was pulled into the dystopian world and enjoyed the premise of a future where all ailments are cured only to create a new generation consistently eradicated by an uncurable disease. The two worlds of Rhine are captivating and the surrounding characters are well written. There are discrepancies with the plot and Rhine is almost too withdrawn to a fault; you never really connect w/her or feel her desire for her love interest(s).


    Would you recommend Wither to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes. Didn't love the story, but did enjoy it; especially the narrator. I felt she embodied the tricky combination of sounding wise, mature, smart, and young. This author paints a bold picture and just needs to inject more emotion and connection scenes. But, still enjoyed this YA entry more than the Twilight copycat authors.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Although I enjoy the Gabriel/Rhine storyline more, I liked the scene where Rhine and Linden go to the party and have a little too much to drink. It's the only time where I felt she was uninhibited and able to connect to Linden.


    Was Wither worth the listening time?

    Yes.


    50 of 52 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meghan Sharp Canaan, NY 10-14-11
    Meghan Sharp Canaan, NY 10-14-11 Member Since 2006

    Bookworm in Boots

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I think there is potential for this author but..."

    While the subject of the story intrigued me, listening to it I felt like a voyeur. I felt like I was gawking at a car accident. I was looking for a good science fiction yarn, but this was a poorly written teen romance in a flimsy disguise.
    I think the narrator did a respectable job voicing a vapid protagonist, but I enjoyed her work best on some of the secondary characters. That being said, the style that she used for the protagonist fit the character to a tee.
    Rhine, the central character who tells the story, has a lot of very tough choices to make. The dilemmas are thought provoking but the heroine's decision-making can be painful to endure at times. There is good depth to her character, I feel, and although I was rooting for her I found myself wishing she was a stronger person and felt let down by her. She is very much in line with Bella from the Twilight series or a weak character in an Edwardian romance. If that was the author's intent - she succeeded admirably. The secondary character were more clear in their convictions and intents and in some ways more enjoyable for those reasons.
    The story itself, however, requires a HUGE suspension of disbelief; it is just not a sustainable premise. For a lover of science fiction, it could be infuriating at times. I couldn't see any way the society the author described could have existed. The idea that women live only until age 20 and men only until 25, that America is the only existing populated place left, and yet cars still run, swanky parties still occur in fancy bars, rich people still have limousines, and 20 year old men are architects selling building designs was too much for me to swallow.
    I think, though, that a lot of this can be forgiven if the author is young and this is her first published work. Most of the really awkward parts of the story seem to suggest lack of experience on the part of the author. She may grow to be a better writer if she sticks to subjects she know more about. But, my biggest issue by far: who edited this?!?!?! Some of the phrases are extremely awkward but could be so simply re-written for clarity, flow and style. Not to mention the glaring errors in fact. At one point the main character relates how she read in an encyclopedia that Christopher Columbus proved the earth was round by sailing around the world in the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria!!!
    Maybe this heroine is just not my cup of tea. I like independent, strong-willed characters like Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching in the Wee Free Men series and Daphne in Nation, Derek Landy's Stephanie/Valkyrie from the Scullduggery Bones series, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next (although not in the audio book version), Scott Westerfeld's Deryn Sharp from the Leviathan series and even Jane Eyre, herself (for a romance comparison). I did finish the book, and would be interested to know what happens, but I won't be paying for the other books and doubt I'd even get them from the library.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Woodland, WA, United States 05-11-13
    Amy Woodland, WA, United States 05-11-13 Member Since 2012

    I have Lupus so with all my down time I love a good game and good book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wonderful book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely yes!!

    This book is very interesting. The story line is different than any other I have read before. There were times where I would get lost in the dialog but for the most part, my attention was completely captivated by the story and narration. Some of the matter was a little uncomfortable but that is what makes a book a good book. I would recommend to anyone.


    What other book might you compare Wither to and why?

    I can't even . Compare because this story is so unique.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The development of the relationship between the sisters.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Linden, CA, United States 02-11-13
    Andrew Linden, CA, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2012

    Parks Horseshoeing

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Wonderful Read"
    If you could sum up Wither in three words, what would they be?

    Sad. Powerful. Shocking.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wither?

    Really the whole book was. I listened to it in 3 sittings of 5 hours, 50 min, and 4 and a half hours. I couldn't get enough since it flowed extremely well.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I got a laugh when Ryne had to dance with a short, orange haired, chubby, pale and freckle faced man! And that man beautiful got to dance with her husband, which lit up the lucky girl for the night.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I like how the sister wives all help each other and look out for one another.


    Any additional comments?

    This book had a very small vocabulary compared to the previous book I came from (The Plede). However it flowed so much easier and smoother. The author made me want to listen to the book all at once. It was an easy and enjoyable read and I strongly recommend it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elsket Chicago, IL 04-18-13
    Elsket Chicago, IL 04-18-13

    caiman007

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Great story - Mediocre Narrator"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Wither to be better than the print version?

    No.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cecilie - Angela Lin totally nailed her personality and voice.


    What aspect of Angela Lin’s performance would you have changed?

    Though she did a fantastic job changing her voice for the characters, particularly Cecilie, I found her general breathless style of reading to be quite distracting. Even simple descriptions were read with a sort of pained, drawn-out cadence that wasn't necessary.

    Overall, it wasn't terrible. I did listen to her read all three books, after all.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Cincinnati, OH, United States 04-19-12
    Shannon Cincinnati, OH, United States 04-19-12 Member Since 2012

    I am an adult who loves a good YA read---but really I just love an engrossing story. If it pulls me in and I can't stop reading-I'm happy!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wither or not...."

    I was intrigued by the cover of this one, and I didn't want to know too much about it before I listened.

    I am, admittedly, all over the map on this one. The beginning did pull me in... I loved hearing about the sister wives---and the wedding--and the people who worked around the house. And I was excited to see where this was going. A society where men stealing women to marry them in the multiples in the hopes that they will be able to continue the family line… with only the hope of living at the most 25 years? Horrific, yes? Realistic?

    I felt like I spent so much time listening to Rhine “think”… that I truthfully can not tell you why she is made head wife? How did she captured her husband’s heart? I wanted to find her irresistibly charming---as everyone seemed to but I couldn’t. She talked of manipulating---but I think she only really did one time.

    Simply put, when the end came---I felt unsatisfied: With the romance and with the world building.

    An interesting question in my mind now is how much of what I think about Rhine is based on the way she is presented to me by Angela Lin? Ummm… maybe the presentation of the other characters could have been a little better----but, ultimately I am let down by the story.

    Bottom line: I am an audible addict---and I did not download the Sequel--nor do I plan to…maybe that shows where I really land.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rebeca Wilton manors, FL, United States 04-18-13
    rebeca Wilton manors, FL, United States 04-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little strange, but I could not put it down"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wither?

    The most memorable moment to me was the first few pages.... They grabbed me right into the story.


    Which character – as performed by Angela Lin – was your favorite?

    I think Cecily was my favorite character. Angela Lin really made her sound like the kinda person she was.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes...., I almost did. It was actually 2 sittings on the 1.5 speed. I just needed to find out more and fast. And what can I say? I do loooove the speed option and am kind of addicted to it. LoL


    Any additional comments?

    Linden was just a wuss to me. I really did not like him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Wilsonville, OR, United States 02-22-13
    Joyce Wilsonville, OR, United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed more than many reviewers"

    I enjoyed Wither from the very beginning. It is light listening that does not require a lot of thought. I generally listen to sci-fi and fantasy and was looking for something just like this. I intend to listen to the entire series. It is a bit predictable but that did not take away from my enjoyment one bit. The protagonist is reminiscent of president Snow from the Hunger Games--evil to the core! It has a solid place in the teen dystopian genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States 05-18-12
    Patricia COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States 05-18-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    34
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    "Chemical Trilogy"
    What did you love best about Wither?

    I loved that the wives became sisters. So much was taken from them and for a while they had each other and acted like sisters fighting and loving each other. I also like that Rine is the middle ground between her sister wives. I am not a middle child but so often these herions in books are the special youngest or oldest child, the middle seems magical, eclectic and essencial for balance.


    What other book might you compare Wither to and why?

    I would compare Wither to The hunger Games, it's set in a desolate world with two people groups segregated from each other and from the harsh realities of that world. Instead of children females are the victems of this world, a dieing race in need of reinforcements in this fast withering world.


    What didn’t you like about Angela Lin’s performance?

    I did not like Angela Lin's mouth noices. I've listened to a lot of autible books lately and this is the first one that did not mask her airy cotton mouth gulps. While I attribute her breathiness to being part of the performance I wish she has taken more care in masking these sounds between the gaps she prolonged. There were a lot of gaps in which she swallowed audibly. Other than that I felt connected to the characters through her voice, from the hyper sister to the men. They were consistant and I recongized who was speaking when she spoke as the other characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I love that Rine made a point to leave her husband with a heart felt masked goodbye. She may have felt like she had left things unfinished had she not.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer austin, TX, United States 09-17-11
    Jennifer austin, TX, United States 09-17-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than I expected"

    Overall, Wither is rather good. There were some plot difficulties. Elements of the world created don't make sense. Maybe they will be fleshed out in the next books. Some of the things that were supposed to horrify didn't, and some of the things that weren't did. The writing was above average though, and that helped smooth over some of the problems.
    Plus, with the exception of one evil character, no one is irredeemable, even those we ought to consider bad. They are fairly complex, and you find yourself liking the man you should hate. Even the protaganist has problems remembering to hate him, and she has reason. No one is entirely good either. Even the too good to be true character is flawed, which is nice.
    The narration was excellent. I could see the narrator being considered dry, but thought she was perfect for the character who narrated the book. She didn't do a lot with voices, except the exceptionally whiny youngest sister bride, but that didn't detract for me. Too many voices end up being badly done when a female narrator tries to do male voices (and of course the reverse as well).
    I will read the next books when they come out.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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