Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Book Review: Wither
Book 1 in the new Chemical Garden Trilogy
AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: dystopian, science fiction, romance
PREMISE: In a future world where the human race is dying out a girl is forced into a marriage to a man she doesn't love.
MY REVIEW: I'll be honest I'm split on this book. Some things I loved about it, others not so much. Once again, we have a book that was most definitely overhyped and I must say bloggers STOP THIS. Please. It starts to set up people's expectations higher then they'd normally be and then they get disappointed when no, actually the book is rather average. Which, I'm sorry Wither is. Not phenomenal like everyone keeps saying, but not horrible either.
The Good stuff: the author's writing. For a first book, this is some rather good writing, a few bad description words aside. I really look forward to when her writing matures and is more polished because then I have a feeling she'll be more in the phenomenal category people are putting her in now. Everything is explained clearly, she tries to think outside the box, there are some morally gray areas in here and she tries to get you to think. For a first book it's not that bad.
HOWEVER the world building is really sloppy. Yes, she explains things clearly however the stuff she comes up with makes very little sense once you think about it. I mean for one thing how does a third world war cause the entire earth aside from North America to sink underwater? Details please. Also, where have I heard this premise before? Oh yes, a little thing called The Hunger Games perhaps you've heard of it? Second in this supposingly advanced medical world where we've cured cancer they haven't figured out one thing about this virus in fifty years? Really? Then I find it REALLY hard to believe that a advanced society like this would perfectly accept poly marriages as the norm. Please. Some sure, but you can bet feminist groups and even christian women would be like "um, hell no." I'm sorry, I think she just did this idea for shock value and while the relationships with the sister wives were mildly interesting it was just really hard to believe that people in a modern America would let this become normal. Especially as with society dying out wouldn't it be more logical for single marriages to be more popular instead of poly marriages? Especially as the women die first here?
I think the key to enjoying this book is to just not think about the details too much. Because once you do, it tends to derail it. Once I stopped letting the details nag me I was able to mildly enjoy this. Like I said, it's a very decent first effort. I just wish the world-building and small details made more sense. I also wish there was less focus on the oh-so-obviously predictable "love triangle" in here because that was frankly the least interesting thing about it. But this is YA so of course that's going to be the focus because apparently we're not supposed to care about anything else. Sigh. I like romance as much as the next girl but I like it as a SECONDARY PLOT. But apparently I'm alone in this.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of dystopian books
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five barred windows