Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 358 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: March 22nd 2011
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?
My Thoughts: Really, truly loved this book. But there were lots of questions that I had, left unanswered...
My thoughts on Wither are all a bit jumbled and all-over the place. There was so much that I loved about this book, but then there were also things that had me completely confused. I finished it in a day, but the pace was a bit slow. Rhine's personality and choices were sort of contradicting at times and that had me feeling dubious about whether or not she really wanted to escape the mansion. She constantly thought how much she hates this place, but seems to me as if she's perfectly content. Hanging in the library, going to parties and drinking champagne, sleeping on satin sheets and eating lots of candy... I didn't really believe it for a long time, that she wanted to leave her life as a senator's wife. There were moments when I truly believed that Rhine was falling in love with Linden and I was really excited about that, to be honest.
The subject of polygamy is a pretty difficult one to touch on, so I won't go into much detail on that. But even with him having multiple wives, I am one hundred percent Team Linden. This was one of the things that bothered me. I felt like we never truly got to know who Gabriel is. I know he likes boats, but what else? I didn't buy the relationship between him and Rhine, not as much as the one with her and Linden. You can tell that Linden's actually in love with her, but just doesn't know the whole truth of their situation, because of his evil father, Vaughn. In my opinion, the author could have gone into a lot more detail as to who Gabriel was, what his personality was like, etc. The little things we got from him were sweet, but not much more than that. It seemed to me as if Rhine was convincing herself she loved him, so as to have an excuse not to love Linden.
The world in this book is a little nuts. Can you imagine, knowing exactly how old you'll be when you die? To never have a chance at a full life. There was a few things that bugged me about DeStefano's dystopia, though. Why and how were all the other continents 'destroyed'? Is that even true? If not, why did the government feed everyone this lie? How did this society truly come to be? The details in which we should be able to understand the reasoning behind a terrible society like this are dull and almost nonexistent. I'm a huge fan of the dystopian genre, have been since I read The Giver, but I want to know more about the society's roots and such. The general focus of this book was much more on Rhine's escape and her life as a sister-wife, which was great, but for me to be able to believe in a fictional world such as this one, the author needs to convince me that this could all happen. Sadly, that didn't happen.
That being said, DeStefano has an incredible gift with words. I love her style and this was a pretty impressive debut. I'm looking forward to pouncing on Fever and seeing what's in store for Rhine and Gabriel and Linden and the rest of the crew. I enjoyed Wither a lot, but I hope I like the next installment even more.
Now I need to start reading some more and finish some books, because I haven't got any reviews ready at the moment!