Waking Sleeping Beauty – Lauren DeStefano’s Wither

Lauren DeStefano‘s debut novel, Wither: Book One of the Chemical Garden, is one that nearly becomes something quite different but not quite.

In a post-apocalyptic future, men only survive to 25 and women to 20 before dying. There is a race to find a way of stopping this ongoing disaster. Rhine is kidnapped and sold to Linden as one of his many brides. Waiting for Rose, his previous bride to die, gives Rhine the time to begin exploring the house, which is her prison. In response, Cecily, the eldest of the new brides, contents herself into the mother role.

We find ourselves in a world which becomes akin to a fairy tale one. Linden becomes Bluebeard, albeit an unwitting one. In theory Rhine and Cecily are Sleeping Beauties, although Rhine appears to try and revolt.Instead if submitting to trying to explain her metaphorically touching the bloodied key, she resolves to find some sort of solution.

Wither tends toward Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale but there is no real engagement with feminism. The book begins exploring the way that Linden and his father are trying to mould Rhine and Rose’s personalities and futures but it becomes lost in the romance. Which is frustrating. There is so much potential to learn and discover the world that I am hoping will come out but I do perhaps fear the worst.

This entry was posted in Books and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *