Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Seventy years ago, science perfected the art of children."* Through genetic engineering, the new generation of children was practically impervious to disease. This new development caused people to stop naturally having children since these genetically modified ones were sure to be protected from disease. The first generation was the perfect picture of health. The next generation and all the others in the future had a limited lifespan (25 for men, 20 for women) because of a strange, incurable virus. Rhine's parents were trying to find a cure in their lab when they were killed. Civilization had broken down: girls were being picked up off the street; orphans were dying of exposure and starvation; and Rhine and her twin brother were struggling to survive alone. Rhine went to donate bone marrow for some much needed money, but it was a ruse. She was captured by Gatherers and sold to a rich man, Linden Ashby, as one of his three new wives. The mansion they live in was beautiful, but just a gilded cage to escape for Rhine. She had to play along for a while to gain the trust of her ersatz husband and gain enough freedom to successfully escape. It's essential to keep under the radar of Linden's father, who is very creepy and won't hesitate to neutralize any problem. Can Rhine escape and lead the life she wants?

Dystopian novels have always had a way of catching my attention and not letting go until I finish the book. Wither was no different. I didn't really know what to expect because I didn't know much about the book except that the cover is beautiful. In this case, the inside matched the outside. I loved how the story just immersed the reader in the world and took the time for explanations and flashbacks in small doses throughout the novel. I also felt like the concept was both believable and chilling. I couldn't imagine growing up thinking that I would die at 20. I could definitely see the breakdown of society in the face of such a devastating virus that afflicts most of the population. There were two factions in this new society: those that want to find a cure and those that think mankind is doomed. The latter group tend to bomb laboratories to prevent the cure of the disease. I would have liked to see what was happening internationally and outside of the immediate community, but Rhine was very isolated both . I think there might be the possibility for an expanded view of the world in the next book.

Rhine was an easy character to like. Her narrative was flowing and All she wants is a normal life, but she was captured and forced against her will to marry a guy with two other girls. With such a short lifespan, the teenagers of this era had to grow up very fast. I like that Lauren DeStefano didn't shy away from uncomfortable topics that come up. I was surprised that such a mature topic would be featured so prominently in a teen book, but I commend her for it. The dynamic between the three wives is compelling and at first, there was competition and jealousy. As they grew closer together, they became friends. Rhine had to put her personal feelings about Linden aside and pretend to be the perfect wife. Her choice was between a rich, but sheltered, life with a man she doesn't love or go into the unknown and run away far from where she grew up to possibly achieve happiness before she dies.

I really liked Wither. The only problem I had with it was that the ending seemed to easy and convenient. I will definitely be reading the second book. I would recommend this book to fans of other speculative and dystopic fiction.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

***Wither will be released 3/22 and you can pre-order it here.***

* from page 8 of the ARC edition of Wither

1 comment:

Liz said...

I'm glad to hear this one is good, I need to read my ARC. Thanks for the review!