I’m excited to introduce my first Book Spotlight! As a voracious reader, I’m always looking for recommendations for new reads, especially in dystopian fiction. Elizabeth, in her posts on The Quiddity of Speculation, wrote briefly about the explosion in Young Adult Dystopian fiction since The Hunger Games was published in 2008. One of the series briefly spotlighted was Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden Series, and she asked that I spotlight it since I had recently finished reading the series. Even though they are set in the same world and follow an over-arching plot line, each book in the series is distinct, so I will bring you a spotlight on each individually.
Sixteen-year-old Rhine lives in the United States of the not so distant future. Genetic engineering 70 years before eliminated cancer and other diseases to create “perfect” children. After the first generation though, something went wrong; males only live to the age of 25 and females to the age of 20. If a cure is not found, the human race is in danger of becoming extinct. Wealthy families “buy” brides in the efforts to keep their family lines going. As the story opens, Rhine has been kidnapped by Gatherers to be come a sister bride, along with 2 other girls, in a polygamous marriage to Linden. From the moment that she becomes Linden’s wife, Rhine is constantly looking for a way to escape and get back to her twin brother, Rowan.
Gems for Writers:
World Building. When I read a book, I need to be able to visualize in my mind what everything looks and sounds like; it’s like a movie running through my mind. Even though most of this book takes place in the mansion owned by Linden’s father, DeStefano gives us glimpses, through Rhine’s flashbacks, of the United States in a dystopian future. Also, by keeping most of the action of the book in one location, it makes the reader feel just as isolated as Rhine does from the rest of society.
Characterization. DeStefano does a wonderful job of letting us get to know each character’s personality, all through Rhine’s point-of-view. In Wither, an understanding of all the characters motives, strengths, and weaknesses is of great importance; the author is setting the stage for, not only the climax of this book, but of the other two in the series as well.
With a strong, female lead character and great introductory world building, Wither is the book for the reader/writer that loved The Hunger Games. It is for someone who wants a similar yet different world, one that is just as dark and thought provoking.
Until next time, Happy Reading and Scribing