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 g..Show More »ood 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.
This final entry in the Chemical Garden trilogy finds Rhine upstairs once again in the mansion with sister wife, Cecily and husband, Linden. Desperate..Show More » to find her brother, Rowen, Rhine teams up on her quest, meeting old "friends," typing up loose ends, and answering lingering questions.
DeStefano has breathed more life and emotion into each character making them more relatable and I found myself rooting for those I previously felt indifferent about. Bratty Cecily matures into a caring, thoughtful young woman; Linden becomes his own man, wriggling out from under his father's thumb; Rhine shares more of her inner thoughts and desires; and Vaughan shows myriad emotions (no spoiler alerts from me). There are gasp-worthy moments and the ending is satisfying and well done.
As one of the better YA writers, Lauren DeStefano creates an interesting premise, close to Atwood's, "The Handmaid's Tale." She imagines a haunting, eerie, yet hopeful world where the characters fight to live, find meaning, and fulfill their dreams. There's more depth and danger in her books. Truly a wonderful trilogy and wonder why it doesn't get more attention than some of the Twilight Copycats?