Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Genre: YA/Sci-fi Romance
Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Published: March 22, 2011
Author's Website: http://www.laurendestefano.com
Buy Links: Amazon
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?
Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
Amazingly vivid and original story that had me hooked from start to finish. This is an entirely new and different world that Lauren created for her readers and it sucks you in like a high powered vacuum and does not you go until the very end. Hold on a second, it actually does not let you go at the end. It leaves you wanting more and in a hurry!
Girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine fears to be taken and becoming one of those girls. With her twin brother always by her side she’s as safe as she can possibly be, that’s until one day she takes an odd job to make some money and it turns out to be a trap for young girls. Rhine along with 2 others are taken to become wives to Linden by his ruthless father Vaughn. It’s a constant thought of escape for Rhine, but proves to be virtually impossible to get free from her confinement and situation as a sister wife. She misses her brother dearly and just wants to be free to live what little life she has left to live. She makes friends with her sister wives as well as a staff member named Gabriel. She finds her feelings are blooming where Gabriel is concerned. But she’s married and trapped in a place she does not want to be.
Linden is unaware of his father’s true self. All he sees is what his father wants him to see and basically was raised not to notice many things. He just does as he was raised and is told to do. Luckily he’s nothing like his father and is truly kind, caring and gentle. He now has three wives and indulges in each of them, but each in a different way. But he’s really taken by Rhine and finds she motivates him to live even if it’s a short life. He also finds he does not want to live without her.
Linden and Rhine have a different relationship from Linden and his other wives. He looks to her for comfort and reality. She despises him for some time but comes to realize that he is not as bad as she originally thought. But still, she wants to leave and he does not want her to be anywhere else but by his side for the rest of their lives. Both characters grow in maturity as the story goes on and I'm happy with how Rhine continues to stick to her guns!
I believe all teens and adults (like me) will enjoy this venture into the imagination of Lauren DeStefano, no matter what your genre preference. I am looking forward to continuing read the series to see all that unfolds. I’m very excited about it actually :)