Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads Says: 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?
I want to start this review by saying that the only way to describe Lauren DeStefano's writing would be to sum it up in these few words: Poetic, hypnotizing, lyrical. It reads in this fashion from the beginning to the very end. I had no intention of reading this book. I knew that it just wouldn't be for me but after reading a random blog entry on the author's blog I decided that I liked her attitude and her writing and wanted to check her out after all. As talented as she is with words I had a hard time getting into this world. By no means is this book horrible.
Lauren DeStefano asks you to push every cell in your body into the outer realm of your comfort zone. This is a story where GIRLS are being kidnapped and forced to marry boys or young men in order to procreate and help to save a dying human species. Reaching far beyond your comfort zone comes into play when you have a 13 year old gushing about getting married and excited about getting pregnant and talking about having relations with her husband two, three times a day. Yet, this I could deal with. Even the polygamy no worries!
I had problems with some of the holes in the story. It is never fully explained how society deteriorated into what it was in Rhine's present day. The attempts were made but it was in pieces and never came together in the end. It was rather strange too that kidnapped girls who are not bought to become sister wives are killed in a world where the human species is trying to survive. It also didn't make sense that so many kids were being had knowing that they would become orphans by the age of 6 if not earlier. I know that the author tried to make this an argument in the book. I just think that it is more plausible for people to want to sterilize or control births if there are more orphan criminals running loose than there are adults. Which brings me to a thought about how for the most part Rhine describes her former life as being kind of crazy because of the orphan criminals always having to watch your back but at one point she goes to a movie theater and says this is like back home. I think I was left at is it chaotic/dangerous or not.
My biggest problem was that I felt some things were redundant/repetitive and how most of the book was just a day by day run down in the lives of these three (princesses) girls and their new husband but nothing new would be revealed. It was rather stale. How about finding out for once what Vaughn was really doing in the basement or revealing something to Linden to get a reaction out of him? Something... I think there were missed opportunities to really develop the characters and this world more.
I am curious to see what comes next in Fever, I just need a bit of a break in between.
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