Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano


Lauren DeStefano

Publication Date: March 22nd 2011

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 358

Genre: Dystopia, Horror, Young Adult

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? 

As mentioned before I took an English class in Dystopias and Utopias, and during that class I read the dystopian classic Handmaiden's Tale. Wither is very reminiscent in some ways to that book, but at the same time very different.

A very exact world is created in Wither. First scientists create a genetic masterpiece, and then in hindsight created a genetic timebomb. Now for this book I had to separate the classic dystopian lover from the great book lover. I loved Wither. I loved the characters, I loved the situation, I loved the sense of fear and helplessness, and the learning that everyone is a puppet. I think it was a very interesting plot situation to explore, and I love how each one of the wives approached their situation differently.

The problem I had is that the dystopian idea seems so forced. Exact dates in which the virus kicks in are had. They call it a virus even though it seems to be more of a genetic timebomb. Everywhere but North America has just randomly sunk, which seems more of a way to cut off the Americans who created this genetic time bomb from any source of escape to breed with other countries. The environment is crafted around the story rather than the story in the environment, and because of that in my opinion, the story is amazing, but the environment is rather one dimensional and lacking in realism.

Once you do get past the rather loose ended reality, the story just steals you. Whether or not you like the main character, Rhine, you become interested in what she is going to do. You become interested in her sister-wives and her husband. In particular the character Cecily grows up the most. She was definitely one of my favourites to watch evolve.

I recommend this book to lovers of young adult romances and books. If you like dystopians for the feeling of rebelliousness, helpless and action then this is a book I recommend, if you like your dystopian environment s to be well developed and not full of plotholes than I do not recommend this book, if you don't mind that I beg you to give this a chance.



poppybytheroad said...

Haha I really hated this book, but your proposed structure for the trilogy is smart! :)

Sam said...

@poppy: I'm sure there are many people who hate this book *laughs* I flipflopped a lot myself. I feel like it could have been so much better if it was just thought out more!

Petra @ Safari Poet said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy it more. I've had this on my shelf for so long and still haven't gotten to it. I think it's because I'm afraid it won't live up to the hype.

Safari Poet

New follower :-)

Books And Beyond said...

I began reading it and I am liking it but not loving it.
Its ok but I am finding other books I am enjoying more.
I have book 2 too & I truly want to read them.
I liked your review. Everyone usually raves about this book and u were honest. Thats cool to see.

Sam said...

@Safari: Honestly that is why I waited so long to read this myself, I was afraid of the hype, which kicked me in the butt when it came to Twilight (I read that before the haters became very vocal and I had just heard good things about it) and having Twilight just fall into the 'Okay' range for me. I'd have to say for me that's where this falls as well 'Okay' maybe slightly better. It is an enjoyable read as long as you don't get too caught up in the things that don't make sense. Also YAY FOLLOWER <3

@Book&Beyond: Thank you, I do try to be honest, even when I am raving in a review I try to figure out WHY exactly I'm ravings so much, or if I don't like it, why exactly that is as well.

Post a Comment