Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Published: 3.22.2011 by Simon & Schuster
Get the book: Amazon
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 on 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?
You guys. ALL THE FEELS. I had to stop reading this book in public because it messed with my emotions so much. It’s like a a roller coaster of emotions…in a tornado of emotions. Everything from the plot to the characters to the twists and turns had me sucked in and completely emotionally invested. SPOILER FREE REVIEW!
- world building – This is the 1st dystopian that I’ve read that truly sent shivers down my spine. The world felt so utterly real. It was entrancing and terrifying – every little bit of it. Each detail was important, and Rhine’s emotions were so raw and understandable. Seeing this world through her eyes was intensely realistic.
- characters – Each and every character was so complicated. I felt like I understood and sympathized with even the nastiest characters at some point during the book. Jenna, Cecily, Linden…I got everyone’s motivations, even if I despised the person most of the time.
- plot twists – The eerie and tense atmosphere is a slow simmer in this book. Each new discovery is a layer that blurs your picture of who each character is and how this world operates. Every time I thought I had a handle on the direction the story was going, something else would happen to throw me off.
- more emotions – Everything was so intense and tangled that I can’t even describe it properly. Every chapter reached out and punched me in the gut, but I loved every second of it.
- Rhine’s flaws – I thought Rhine was a great character. But so much time was spent either getting to know her through flashbacks, or getting introduced to her new world and her thoughts that I feel her flaws were left out. Does Rhine have any flaws? Something that can be seen in both flashbacks and the present? She doesn’t seem to have any kind of character defect, while everyone else in the story clearly does.
- I wonder what would happen if I ran – if Gabriel or one of the others would stop me. But ultimately it’s my fear of what my new husband might do that keeps me in place, because surely if I ran, I wouldn’t make it far before I was caught. And then – what? I’d be locked in my room again, probably, forever marred as the one who can’t be trusted. – Rhine pg. 50 (ARC version)
- I could tell him right now. I could tell him that Jenna’s sisters were executed in that van, and that the last thing I’d ever wanted to be was a bride. But would be believe me? And if he believed me, would he let me go? – Rhine pg. 222-223 (ARC version)