Thanks to a botched attempt at genetic engineering, females die at age 20, while males die at age 25. Girls are frequently snatched off the streets for brothels or to be placed in polygamous marriages for breeding purposes. The latter is what happens to Rhine Ellery, who finds herself in a luxurious mansion with a stranger as a husband and three sister-wives. She wants to escape and get back to her twin brother, but her new father-in-law has made a perfect prison, one that holds dark and dangerous secrets.
That’s the basic premise of Wither, the first book of the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano, but it gets a lot more complicated and interesting than that. Admittedly, the plot isn’t perfect. Some basic aspects of it don’t seem to make sense. However, I think that overall the story is a good one, and the characters are engaging enough to make up for whatever deficiencies the plot might have.
I started reading Wither in a bookstore after seeing a YouTuber recommend it, and I didn’t want to put it down. The second book was a bit slow compared to the first one, but the pace picked back up again for the third book. I really enjoyed reading this series.
Overall rating for the series: B-