Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Book: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 356
Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | Book Depository
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
How Did I Get This Book: From Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
First Line: "I WAIT. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids."
Description: 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.

 Wither is yet another marvelous young adult dystopian. It seems like these books are popping out of the woodwork these days. Although this genre is quickly growing, DeStefano injects her work with enough originality and creativity to keep readers on their toes. That being said, Wither is certainly not a perfect book,but it is a good enough book that readers will easily enjoy it.

The concept of multiple sister wives is definitely creepy and the fact that the youngest wife is only 13 was extremely disturbing - as it was meant to be. Destefano isn't trying to paint a pretty little picture; this is a dystopian novel; things are suppose to be make you uneasy. If everything was perfect and normal, you would be reading an entirely different type of book.

DeStefano creates such an intriguing world within Wither, but it's really the characters that set the story apart. Rhine is an amazing character, she has an underlying strength that everyone comes to rely on. She feels a great deal of urgency – she knows she doesn’t have much time left in life. She never loses sight of her goal; to return home to her brother. She feels cheated with her new life and wants desperately to be free once again.

She runs into a few hiccups along the way; mainly in the form of her sister-wives. The bond between the sister wives is the strength of the story, their relationships are ultimately what keep the plot moving. As she gets closer and closer to two other girls, Jenna and Cecily, she begins to struggle with the idea of leaving them behind. Jenna becomes her confident and best friend, and although she often butts heads with the jealous and irritating Cecily, she still feels protective of her. Like I said before, Cecily is only 13 years old and she is very much a child playing dress up. She gets lost in her fantasies of what life should be like and doesn't stop to look at the reality. She doesn't want to see how things really are, she would rather pretend.

The only character I took issue with was Linden, Rhine's husband. Linden really was just a shadow of a character; I did not feel anything towards him – I did not like him, but I did not dislike him either. He isn't offensive, yet he doesn't inspire sympathy either. He just kind of is. How does that quote go, "be in the world, but not of the world"? That describes Linden to a T. I saw a great deal of potential for his character, he could have had such impact on the storyline. Unfortunately, DeStefano doesn't really put him to good use.

I was left with a lot of questions after finishing Wither, I feel like there were a lot of plot points that did not exactly make sense.I do not want to give anything away, but if Rhine would have just told Linden what really happened, the entire storyline would have been different. Linden is written as a kind, understanding, if somewhat dimwitted man; but it is obvious he would do anything Rhine asks. It seems highly unlikely he would force her to stay, once he knew she never chose to be there.

Although Wither is not a perfect book, it is an enjoyable story that readers are sure to enjoy. Rhine's journey is an intriguing one to follow and she is a character that is easy to appreciate and love. I am interested to see where the story progresses next, there was a lot of plot covered in the first book, so I am curious to see what is up DeStefano's sleeve.

Favorite Quotes
"I always knew I was an excellent liar; I just didn't know that I had it in me to fool myself." 
"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale."  
"Times like this, when she slips her hand into mine and holds on tight, and our husband becomes just a shadow in the doorway."


bibliophile brouhaha said...

"but if Rhine would have just told Linden what really happened, the entire storyline would have been different. Linden is written as a kind, understanding, if somewhat dimwitted man; but it is obvious he would do anything Rhine asks"

YES!!! This part drove me nuts! If my kind hubby had no clue the piece of evil shite his father was, I would illuminate him with my own story immediately! Spot on review - I liked it, but there were things about I was like, "Uhhhhh. . . "

Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com said...

Spicey Quotes. Haven't read this one yet and it already is making me wonder.

Unknown said...


Im still undecided if I wanna read this though =P

A Beautiful Madness said...

I can't wait to read this one. I've been dying to get my hands on this one for so long.

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