I first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, Wither, was one of my top books last year. I was eagerly awaiting the sequel. I ordered it from the library as funds are low, and was No. 142 on the waiting list, but patience bore out, and it arrived in my pile. I waited until I’d read the books due before it, to be a good girl, and then I was ready. Maybe I’d hyped it up to much in my mind, maybe I was just expecting more of the same. This book (and you really have to read the first to get this one), was less a continuation of the first, and more a divergence. Warning: Some spoilers, small ones if you’ve read the first book. It starts out with Rhine, our heroine, having escaped from her forced House Governor husband and the sister wives, along with her faithful servant, Gabriel, who would do anything for her. At once, in less than an hour or so after she reaches safety, she is snatched up by a prostitution madame, and the book is spent basically being drugged, forced to do crazy things, escape, long drives, and lots more drugs, illnesses, etc., all in an attempt to find her brother, whom she had been separated with about a year before when the Gatherers came and took her and sold her off to be a bride. There was almost nothing about the age of 26, when they are genetically programmed to die -something went wrong, somewhere along the line, and although scientists were trying to figure out what happened, many people resisted the idea of testing/experimenting on children (her parents had been such scientists), so the labs were burned, and it was just accepted that this was the way it was. Most of that comes from Book No.1. This had a lot less of what life was like with a death sentence, and less about the emotional ties and conflicted feelings from her life with her house-governor, and more about being in drugged states, and ill. It left me flat. Still an interesting entry in the series, and sets up a lot for the end book, which I hope will be up for it. Otherwise this is a crash and burn trilogy, IMVHO. I was disappointed. It lacked the weird charm of the first. That dizzying look at another world, so far removed from our own – a great world-building example. This was just a small corner or it, a dingy, gray and used up section.
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