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drey's library

reviews, interviews, and giveaways from an eclectic reader...

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In the Courts of the Sun
Brian D'Amato
Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl
David Barnett
The Bone Palace

Wither (Chemical Garden)

Wither (Chemical Garden) - Lauren DeStefano What has the world come to? Genetic modifications have caused the population to self-exterminate. Boys now live to 25 years, girls to 20. And everyone’s either frantic for a cure, or resigned to a very brief life span.Rhine and her twin brother Rowan are orphans in a world where there’s little to be had, if you’re not one of the First Generation. But they have each other, and that’s enough. Then Rhine is kidnapped for a bride, and her whole world changes.There’s food! Cars! Clothes! And heat! What luxuries! Too bad they come with strings: a marriage, little to no freedom in a gorgeous mansion where you’re confined to one floor – and the basement is straight out of a horror movie, and a scary father-in-law… Now she knows that there is something worse than life ending at twenty: being married off to have a child for a First Generation family.Rhine soon realizes 3 things: her soon-to-be husband’s wife is dying; Rhine’s her replacement; and he has no idea how Rhine and her sister-wives were procured. Yes, plural. Jenna and Cecily are the bookends to Rhine’s sixteen, and share Rhine’s predicament. Except that Cecily wants to be Linden’s wife, and Jenna doesn’t have anywhere else to go – or anyone else to go to.Lauren DeStefano’s world is dark and scary, with warnings of what could happen if we meddle too much with genetics, and its undisguised message of girls’ disposability. It’s stark and unrelenting, much like Rhine and her current reality. But Rhine isn’t going to take this lying down. Come hell or high water, she’ll escape and return to Rowan.I love Wither‘s creepiness and Rhine’s stubbornness. I love how everything she does, she does with one goal in mind – escape. I love that even when she finds herself feeling sorry for Linden, she doesn’t let herself forget how she came to be his wife. I love that she won’t give up on hope, no matter what gets thrown in her path.Wither is fine YA dystopian fiction, without the action-packed thrills of The Hunger Games or Divergent. Instead it keeps your attention with plenty of well-crafted drama, a tightly-woven plot, and a heroine to root for. I cannot wait to read Fever to see what happens next!drey’s rating: Excellent!