Summary: The Chemical Garden Trilogy is a dystopian society set in the future. Science has taken over trying to rid the planet of disease, and in the process, have doomed the human race to a life span of only 25 years (for males) and 20 years (for females.) In this hopeless climate, the rich "buy" many brides off the black market (the brides are actually teenage girls stolen by men called "Gatherers") to try to reproduce and many heirs as possible.
In the first book, Wither, we meet Rhine, a sixteen year old girl who has a twin brother, Rowan. Their parents were scientists trying to create a cure for the disease that kills all new generations. They are part of what is called the "First Generation", the last people of the planet who do not have the disease. They die when Rowan and Rhine are young to an explosion at their lab. Rowan and Rhine are all each other has to keep each other safe.
One day, Wither gets captured by the gatherers, and is forced to marry Linden, and aristocratic young man in South Carolina. His only wife, Rose, is about to die. He takes three new brides, Rhine being one of them. But his father, Vaughn, is actually the one calling the shots. The rest of the book deals with Rhine realizing she is in a prison, a beautiful estate of a prison, but a prison nonetheless. And all Rhine can think of is ESCAPE! But how?
My 2 cents: LOVED this book! I didn't think I would at first, because the whole premise is very sick and leaves bile in your mouth. But all is not as it seems, and even through imprisonment, the strength of the human spirit shines through, for all the wives, and Linden, who isn't what you would think. Some of the best character development I've read in awhile.
SPOILER ALERT: Don't keep reading if you have not read Wither yet, because the next review gives away a lot of the ending.
In the second book, Fever, Gabriel and Rhine have escaped one prison to end up in another...a Crazy Prostitute circus with a crazy ringleader, Madame, who thinks Rhine will make her lots of money and be her new star. Thinks go from bad to worse in this novel, and they can't seem to escape Vaughn wherever they go. This is truly a dark book. But the fortune-teller that Gabriel and Rhine meet does warn Rhine, "Its always darkest before the dawn."
My 2 cents: Another great installment! I didn't like it as much as Wither, mainly because it seemed so hopeless all through the book. The ending about had me in tears, and leaves you on a huge precipice. The main thing I love about these books, is the strange descriptions and characters that DeStefano comes up with! You never know where she will take you next!
I give the Chemical Garden Trilogy 5 stars so far! Can't wait for the final book!