Monday, June 8, 2015

Great Read; Just Ignore the Flawed Premise

Source: Publisher Website
Wither (Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren DeStefano (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011, 358pp.)
In the world of Wither, men only live to age 25, while women live to age 20. After they reach those respective ages, each will fall prey to a malicious virus, and because of this, the world is becoming depopulated very quickly. In a frenzy to keep the human race from dying out, polygamy becomes the norm, and incidents of human trafficking go through the roof. “Gatherers” kidnap young girls to sell to the highest bidder. As the story opens, three young women are auctioned off to the wealthy Ashby household. Jenna, age 18, sullenly accepts her fate. Cecily, age 13, has always wanted to be a society wife, and rejoices. But Rhine, age 16, who has been separated from her beloved twin brother, vows to fight and escape by whatever means necessary...even if it means pretending to enjoy her captivity, until someone lets their guard down.

Some reviewers have questioned the validity and science behind the premise: how would a virus automatically kill off EVERYONE at the precise ages of 25 and 20? Why would North America alone survive the desolation of the Earth, while all other continents have been literally reduced to rubble? To which I would reply that yes, they’re correct. It is a flawed premise; the whole narrative is filled with scientific inaccuracies and other implausible details. Would I still recommend this book? Yes! But perhaps I should explain why, since I have criticized quite a few books in the past for their scientific implausibilities. The fact is, I was too swept up in the human aspects of the story to think about the science. The characters are all well-developed, and the villain is believably creepy. So, if that sort of thing bothers you, just skip it. If not, then enjoy the ride! Recommended for Ages 16-Up.

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