Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: 1st in Chemical Garden
Published: March 22, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Source: ARC from Around The World Tours
Description: 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 limted time she has left.
I Give This ...
For the most part I really enjoyed this book. It's a stunning work of dystopian fiction that I think lots of readers will enjoy.
I like the world that has been created. The sense of terror and urgency is very prominent throughout the book. The idea of a genetic malfunction seems very plausible. I liked the idea of a perfect generation that spawns the future catastrophic generations. The separation between financial classes is so pronounced and it adds to the despair in the story. With all people except the first generation dieing at the ages of 20 or 25, there are too many children left without parents and homes. It a situation that something big is going to happen soon.
I enjoyed Rhine overall. Her background makes her different that the typical teenagers her age. She was raised by her first generation parents who were working hard to find a cure of the genetic mutation. When they were killed, her twin brother and her manage to live on their own. Her brother is constantly worried that Rhine will attract unwanted attention. When she's lured into a trap, kidnapped, and forced into a marriage with a very rich House Governor who also has 3 other wives (one is dies soon after she marries him). She's constantly looking for a way out though. She never accepts that this is the way things have to be, even though she knows she's lucky to be wear she is.
The one thing that made the story feel off for me was that I never really felt like Rhine really hated Linden. I felt like she was misdirecting her hatred for his father. Linden's father was downright creepy and deserving of the hate. He would stop at nothing to find a cure, even as far a kidnapping girls and telling his son a different story. While Linden may have been oblivious to all of this, I felt like he wasn't deserving of the hatred that was directed at him. I'm not saying that Rhine should have given in to the lifestyle. I just think Linden wasn't the bad guy here. I did like her relationship with Gabriel. He was a really sweet guy, but completely understood what was at stake.
I'm curious to wear the story will go next. The idea is an interesting concept and I hope a cure if found before Rhine reaches 20!