Battle of the Worst Worlds: Wither v. Article 5


"The  chemical  garden  series"  by  Lauren  DeStefano                                                                                                                                                                                           "The  Article  5  Trilogy"  by  Kristen  Simmons

I've been on the search for the "worst" worlds in YA fiction. Not "worst" as in poorly written. On the contrary, these worlds are so deeply descriptive and fleshed out that I can almost feel what it would be like to live there. wouldn't be pretty. Seriously, some dystopian books have such terrible freakin' worlds that I'd be terrified if someone plopped me down in those pages. Of the terrible worlds I've come across, there are two that rise above the others: Lauren DeStefano's Wither and Kristen Simmons' Article 5. Today I'm pitting them against each other to determine which world is more horrible, more terrifying, and downright nastier. 

Let's start with Wither. 

Here's a world in which men die at 25 and women die at 20. Right off the bat, I'm f*ucked if someone puts me in this world. (I'm 22). At the beginning of the book Rhine, the lead female, is abducted and sold into polygamy. The girls that didn't get purchased...well those girls died. Reminder: This isn't a "best" worlds battle. 

Even though Rhine is now living in luxury, everything around her is a little morphed, a little fake. Here's where Lauren DeStefano's imagery really envelops the reader. Rhine lives in a mansion, has her own servants, and dresses in fancy clothes, and yet it's still incredibly terrifying. It's almost like watching someone in a glass cage. 

Now let's dissect Article 5.

 In Kristen Simmons' world, the Bill of Rights has been replaced with a Moral Statues. The laws are well thought out and researched. (You can see them all at Kristen Simmons' website.) This is one of the most believable and realistic dystopian worlds I've ever read. Some laws include:
  1. Not being allowed to own immoral media/paraphernalia (this includes romance novels! -- again, I'm f*cked). 
  2. Must wear gender specific clothing
  3. Abiding by curfew unless married
  4. Avoiding infidelity
  5. Article 5: No children out of wedlock
Ember, the heroine of the story, was born out of wedlock. And in the beginning of the book, her mother is charged and taken away. Ember herself is then taken to a reform school for girls. The school dishes out cruel punishments and kills anyone who tries to escape. Even if you comply with the laws and don't get taken away, fear devours this world. Everyone is ruled by it. It takes immense skill to wave the Big Bad and the catalyst into something intangible as fear. Simmons' does that and beyond. 

If I could choose a "feeling" to give to the story, it's almost like living in The Walking Dead without the zombies. You're scared every second that something is going to turn around and bite you, but here the corrupted military are the savage beasts.

Now that we have a little background of each world, it's time to decide which one would be more terrible to live in. To do this, I'm going to rank them on how I would survive in the world. Biased? Yes. Accurate? Maybe. Fun? Hell yeah!

These scores reflect my biased opinion and how well I would survive in the world. Your own scores may vary. 

Chance of Death

Survival rate is key in deciding how horrible the world really is. 

WITHER: Like I said, I'm 22, there would be 100% chance that I'd die in this world. -- 5/5

ARTICLE 5: As long as I stayed compliant, I could survive. I'm not saying it would be fun, but I wouldn't die. -- 2/5


How easily can you escape a terrible situation or (better yet) the entire world?

W: (If I'm miraculously alive), then I think it would be fairly easy to escape from Linden's mansion. Not saying I'm smarter than Rhine (okay, I am) but I think I wouldn't have a big problem on this front. Escaping "the world" is more problematic but as long as I don't run into drug-induced prostitution camps and can find a way to kill Linden's father, I should be okay. -- 3/5

A5: This world is inescapable. It seems like no matter what the characters do they're constantly put in another horrible situation. And it's not for lack of intelligence or skill. The world just fucking sucks. -- 5/5

Quality of Allies

The people you surround yourself with can ultimately do you in.

W: Gabriel's nice, but he's not someone I'd choose first on my team. The women are stronger in this book, yet they're corrupted by their allegiance towards Linden. Outlook: you're better off alone -- 4/5

A5: Chase. That is all. -- 1/5

The Realistic Factor

Realistic dystopian worlds are way more frightening than ones you could never see happening (usually). 

W: I'd say this is Wither's weakest front. Though not completely unbelievable, you just have to stretch your mind farther than most. -- 2/5

A5: 100% I could see this happening if our world became corrupted. -- 5/5



I chose which world is worse, but now it's time for you to decide. Choose the worst world (i.e. the one you feel you wouldn't survive).

Even if you haven't read the books, feel free to vote!  

Which book has the "worse" world? free polls 

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?


New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved. 



  1. I've never read Wither, but Article 5's world is pretty brutal! Granted, Chase would be there to warm the lonely nights (hehe), but I still think it's pretty awful, with those camps and no freedom and even the horrible things they put their own soldiers through.

    Side note: I'm SO excited to read Three.

    1. Article 5 is so brutal! Chase would be the silver lining. But I agree, this world would be terrible to live in. Ahhh! THREE! Cannot wait :) Thanks for stopping by, Allie!

  2. This is a BRILLIANT IDEA!!! Have you thought about allowing other people to share into this wonderful idea??? Like maybe make it a memo, and have a linky so other people can join in?? I would LOVE to do a weekly, or even a biweekly memo of this, it looks like so much fun! I'll stop back through to see what you think of turning your idea into a memo! :)

    1. Thanks Alicia! I'm going to try to post Battles on Thursdays, so I'll include a linky for anyone who wants to participate. But I don't have a set "Battle of the World". For instance, next week I'm doing "Battle of the Heroes" and pitting Etienne St. Clair against Cricket Bell (from Stephanie Perkins' books). But you're more than happy to do any kind of battle on Thursdays ;) Thanks for stopping by!!

    2. AWESOME! I didn't want to do it without your go ahead first, since it was your idea. Can I use your banners too, or is that pushing it to

      Oh, and I also LOVED the ARTICLE 5 series! I'm actually reading BREAKING POINT now. And girl, let me tell you, it is beyond amazing! The world building is so harsh and real. I just love this series. I can't wait to start THREE next. I have an ARC, and I can't wait!

      Thanks again Alicia @ Addicted Readers! :)

    3. Of course you can use my banner! Or you can make your own, whichever you prefer :)

      Breaking Point was phenomenal! Just wait for that ending! It's insane. I'm too excited for Three!!! I can't wait to find out how Simmons is going to end the series. (Hopefully with Chase and Ember officially getting together, just sayin', lol.)

  3. I loved the "Chase. That is all." lol I love him so very much. I like how real Article 5's world feels but that is kind of a scary thing to say. Wither definitely takes the cake for a world I'd hate to live in. I'd have been dead a long time ago and all that human trafficking stuff freaks me out.

    I feel like it's been forever since I've stopped by! I love the new blog design!

    1. Thanks, Sara! Hafsah did an amazing job on the design. And yes, Wither's world is just *shivers* No way could I live there. Chase is such a bright light in Article 5 and I feel like Wither really doesn't have that. Thanks for stopping by :D

  4. Chance of Death - W: 5/5 (I'm almost 25 so yeah, I would be dead now), A5: 5/5 (I've had two kids out of wedlock so I'm pretty sure I would also be dead in this world)

    Escape-ability - W: 3/5 (I'm going to higher my expectations for this one because I would hope I would be able to escape. I would probably be the one to pull the trigger on Vaughn), A5: 5/5 (I doubt I could hide out in this world with two kids in tow. I would probably be caught pretty quickly)

    Allies: W: 4/5 (I'm not really a Gabriel fan either. I'd probably just run for it and forget about him. Sorry Gabe!), A5: 2/5 (I think Chase could probably save me in this world)

    I'll go with your ratings on the realistic factor: W: 2/5, A5: 5/5

    My winner?? Definitely Article 5. No way I could survive in that world. Definitely could have if I didn't have my little ones, but alas, they are here.

    This was a ton of fun!! :D

  5. I wouldn't want to live in either of these worlds, but if I had to choose I would pick Article 5. If I was living in the Wither world, I would have died over 6 years ago. Gosh, that makes me feel old, haha. Plus, I would choose Chase over Gabriel any day ;)

  6. What an awesome way to present two books against each other, I am really interested in reading Article 5 after this! I think both of those worlds sound pretty horrible to live in, but yeah people dying at 20 is pretty terrible.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence