So this week is my turn, and I am recommending the first two books in Lauren DeStefano’s The Chemical Garden series!
Being a bit of a YA nut has its pros and cons. Perhaps my favourite thing about YA is the imagination that is injected into every story. There are no limitations to where these writers go and I am always transported back to being a teenager myself, devouring worlds that authors had created with an eagerness that I can’t even accurately describe. Unfortunately, YA also follows some very specific trends (you all know what I mean, cough, Twilight, cough). I am the first to admit that I enjoyed Twilight back in the day, but I also give a sigh of exasperation whenever I see direct parallels between new books I am reading and the Twilight plot or, more frequently, characters.
This is why Lauren DeStefano is a breath of fresh air to me. Next to being a beautiful writer, leading her prose from delicate to edgy and back throughout the book, she is also one of the most creative writers I have ever had the pleasure to read! In the first book of the series, Wither — which was published earlier this year –DeStefano takes us into a version of the future I hope will never actually come to be. While scientists searched for the cure for cancer, they somehow gave birth to inner time bombs. Men live until the age of twenty-five and women, only until the age of twenty. Wealthy men have polygamous marriages in order to impregnate multiple women and help to repopulate the world. Linden Ashby, one such man, thinks he is doing a service to the world, while suffering inwardly over his own personal losses.
Rhine Ellery is one of his teenage brides, abducted — unbeknownst to Linden — by his dangerous father. Though Rhine’s relationship with her sister wives becomes one of her only comforts, she knows she must escape. Feelings also blossom between Rhine and servant boy, Gabriel, who was an orphan before getting the job working for Linden’s family. Gabriel has never been free and Rhine’s heart breaks knowing all the wonders he has never seen. She decides that she must take him with her.
The book is full of wonderfully crafted relationships, interesting scientific commentary and lovely language. I highly recommend you try it before the second book in the series, Fever, makes its way into stores next year! Take my word for it, you want to read this book!