Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date – March 22, 2011
Publisher – Simon & Schuster
Pages - 358
My Rating- 10/10
Here is the GoodReads synopsis:
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.I had heard a lot of advance buzz about this book. I was excited but also a little leery as I have read books with buzz that ultimately fell flat. Wither is worthy of all the buzz, and more. I was enthralled by this novel. This review is most likely going to be a whole lot of gushing (sorry!). I can not recommend this book strongly enough.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
The part of this novel that haunts me the most is the age cut off - 20 for females. I am 30 (well 2 weeks away). I would have been dead 10 years ago if I lived in this society. That might be why I felt as horrified as I did; the author managed to make me feel unsettled.
There are a lot of characters in the novel that we meet. The heroine of the story is Rhine. She is strong, smart, and no damsel in distress. I loved her. Her fellow sister wives are Cecily and Jenna. I liked the relationship between the 3 of them. It was shown as having it’s ups and downs, but they were supportive and there for each other. They each have their own thoughts about being a sister wife and they each react differently to it.
The love story between Rhine and Gabriel was sweet (if a little under developed in this book). I wonder what Linden’s role will be in the next two books as there was some genuine feelings there. It might just be me, but I think Rhine had feelings for Linden too. I am interested to see if it’ll become a “love triangle”. I liked that Rhine was having moments where she wavered. It made her feel real as a character, which is amazing when an author can accomplish it.
The novel is dark. Very dark. You have a lot of death, sadness, and mature elements. One of the sister wives for example is only about 13 years old. It’s very provocative and I tend to think that adults might love it even more than young adults. The fact that the author does not shy away from the more provocative or risqué elements is one of my favourite parts of the novel. I applaud her for it.
The writing is beautiful, and flows well. The author is talented and can create moods and feelings with just a few words. I honestly felt like I was trapped along with Rhine. I also loved how she managed to make nothing black and white. Nobody was all good or evil. Nobody was perfect. This made it feel that much more real. The secondary characters are well flushed out, and complicated. Considering that there are a lot of characters we meet, it’s impressive how much we get to know about so many of them.
The novel ends on a “I want to know more” moment. It’s very open ended and I am excited to see where the author is going to take Rhine’s story next. I have questions that I hope are answered in the next two books. I also want someone to make June Beans for real. They really do sounds yummy.
Wither is officially released March 22, but you can find it in quite a few bookstores already. If you haven’t read it already, go pick it up! You won’t be sorry.