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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

"What if you knew exactly when you would die?

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.

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 limted time she has left."-GoodReads.

Hardcover, 356 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: EGalley- S&S Galley Grab. Thank you Simon and Schuster!!
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author

Think about this, in our world doctors perform brain surgery, do heart transplants, and heal people of cancer. Our medicine and medical technology is amazing.
But what if sometime in the future none of that mattered? That something happens to a future generation, something that makes girls die at 20 and guys die at 25. And nothing that anybody does can stop the dying? Welcome to Rhine's world.

Since the younger generation is dying off, girls are being kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages so that they can breed children to be tested and experimented on to see if the first generation can find a cure. Rhine ends up being one of those girls.
Now stuck with one sister wife who is content with dying in their new mansion prison, the other who is actually excited to be married and cannot wait to get pregnant, and an extremely sheltered husband who thinks she choose to be there, all Rhine can think about is getting her freedom back.

I was surprised at how fairly calm this story was for a dystopian. I guess since most of the ones that I have read are action packed with a war or something going on I thought something like that would be going on in this one too. But no. Most of it was mental battles. Dealing with dying so young, having your freedom taken away, being trapped, being forced to bear children. Oh, and having a psycho father-in-law to top it all of.

Most of the book is Rhine being stuck in her husband's mansion. Which is quite the amazing place. But she is not willing to give up her freedom for the life of luxury (even if that luxury does come with an amazing library). She has a twin brother out there in world that she used to live in that is missing her and is probably looking for her and she wants to get back to him to spend the remaining years of her life with him.

She becomes fast friends with Gabriel, who is a servant in the mansion, mostly because she just wants someone to talk to, but then she starts falling for him and then decides to ask him to escape with her. Which is a problem since she is married to Linden. Whom she tries desperately not to like, but that starts to get difficult.
Even though Linden was clueless as to what his father was up to and really thought those girls wanted to be there, he was endearing at times, and that made it hard not to fall for him a bit. Which happened to Rhine more than once. Falling for the servants, limos, fancy dresses, and falling for Linden was so easy.
She has a big decision to make. Try to escape with Gabriel? Or stay with Linden and give birth to lots of babies?

Her sister wives were also really neat characters. All three of them were so different, coming from different backgrounds, thrown into the same situation, and doing what each feel like they have to do to survive. Their growth and development made them so real.

I had a bit of a problem with the ending. I know there is going to be another book, so the ending was kind of segueing into that one, but what happened was just too easy. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what she was going to decide to do, and then when she finally just happens too easily. With all the build up, I was expecting a bit more conflict. So I was a bit disappointed with that.

This really was a wonderful book to read though. DeStefano really is a terrific writer. Her descriptions were beautiful but not verbose, her characters were real and believable and most importantly, her world is scary. And it's scary without a war or an overbearing government. Which was new and refreshing. I can't wait to see what Lauren DeStefano has in store for Rhine in the next book.


  1. I enjoyed this one too, and wished that it didn't end. Thanks for the review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I liked Wither, but it wasn't a favourite of mine. I felt it was a bit too rushed in some places.
    I loved the sister wives though - they were wonderful together. Mostly, anyway.
    I can't wait for the sequel!
    Great review :)

  3. I can't wait to read this one!!!

  4. I want to visit the orange field and the rose gardens that are mentioned throughout the book :)

  5. I loved this book! I think the pacing was a little strange, slow and then rushed, but I can get over that. Rhine was an interesting character, and yes, I can't wait to see what's next for her.


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