by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Printed by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
Wither is a beautifully written novel that has an equally beautiful cover. Just look at it!!
DeStefano has a magical way with words. Her writing is so effortless, flawless, and easy to read that you get lost inside of her world - the world of Wither.
Wither takes place in a world where both men and women live only until their early twenties (25 for men and 20 for women). Because of this the characters are forced to live a hurried life. Under these circumstances, I understood why this world condoned polygamy and young mothers. The youngest mother, being only 13 or 14, was a bit disturbing. But like I said, when you only live to be 20, it's more understandable. The protagonist, Rhine, is definitely a realistic character in demeanor. She is in no way over-the-top or hard to follow. I loved her for this. Even though I had some trouble understanding her reasoning and choices, I still felt she was down to earth and ultimately a believable character. I loved the diversity between Rhine and her sister wives, and the different relationships they each developed with Linden. Also, I've got to admit, I felt super bad for Linden! Poor fellow! I wish I could have felt better about his story, but I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. And Gabriel? Guuuurl, we did not get to see enough of him! All I can say is the second book best be having lots more of him! Hehe ;)
I was definitely left with lots of questions after finishing Wither. Where is the government? How are they coping with these circumstances? Is there a lack of government or an uprising? Sadly, we didn't get to see very much of the 'outside world,' as we spend most of the novel within the mansion walls. I can understand that under Rhine's circumstances, world exploration wasn't really possible during Wither. Perhaps the second book will dive into life beyond the walls.
Overall, Wither was a deliciously wonderful read!
My Rating: 4 / 5