Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
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
Rhineis 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 Rhinecan’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 Rhinequickly 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 Rhineis 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, Rhineattempts 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.
Things that I really enjoyed in the book: Jenna's death, Cecily's reaction to the death and her baby, Rhine realizing that
isn't to blame and
the good villain of Vaughn. Linden
Vaughn might just be one of the most complicated characters the book has. He's pretty much gone crazy. He was among the first to suffer from the fact that the first generation's children are timebombs and after losing his "perfect" son he doesn't want to go through that again. Nothing else is more important to him than winning against this genetic mutation and saving his blood from self-destructing again. NOTHING. Everything he does is calculated to help the most, even what brides are chosen as Rhine describes: Jenna is the disposable one, Rhine is the apple of
's eyes (aka Rose's replacement) and
Cecily is the babymaker. Linden
Honestly I don't think this book really gives itself to being a trilogy, I am quite happy after this first book and I don’t want to read the next. I think that if Lauren DeStefano had wanted this to be a trilogy so badly she should have focused on each wife in turn and given them each a book. The first being Jenna's, ending with her death, the second being Rhine's ending with her escape and the third being Cecily's showing us the aftermath, possibly of Vaughn's self destruction and Linden and her doing something about it.
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.