Friday, July 1, 2011


Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

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 limited time she has left. -Plot summary borrowed from Good Reads.

Like Matched, this is another internalized dystopia from a female perspective (which, honestly, is an interesting and worthwhile take on the slightly tired genre). While I enjoyed Wither, I thought it was slightly lackluster and not quite my cup of tea. Rhine doesn't take enough initiative for my liking, secondary characters are not as well developed as they really could be (with the possible exception of Rhine's sister wife Jenna, who is haunting in her deeper understanding of their situation and attempts to help Rhine), and the reader is not given much information about the society. Many of those quibbles could be addressed in the sequel, Fever, due out in February 2012, but many readers may not want to wait.


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