Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
Pages: 356.
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.
Wither manages to be horrifically disturbing and gorgeous at the same time; blending a harsh, crumbling dystopian world with vivid and beautiful descriptions and scenery.

Amidst the dying population, Rhine’s struggle with being sold into a polygamous marriage with no chance of freedom for the rest of her short life seems to be the main concern. I really liked how it read as a contemporary novel, how natural and normal the chaos was to the reader from the very first page. Something else that drew me in were Rhine’s flashbacks and memories of life with her twin brother, Rowan. The more she thought about him and remembered him, the more angrier and determined she became. It kind of split Rhine into two different characters: Rhine who is hell-bent for freedom, devious and perceptive and Rhine who is the perfect first wife, loyal and oblivious.

Another thing I enjoyed was how conflicted I was about the characters. Reading them was like riding a rollercoaster; my opinions of them leaped up and down quite frequently. I wanted to hate Linden so much, and for a lot of the book, I did. But there were parts where I couldn’t help but to feel for him, and it was the same way with Jenna and Cecily, Rhine’s sister wives. It’s obvious that the characters were carefully developed with big, differing personalities and I thought they worked really well together.

The one and only thing that stuck out negatively to me about this novel how it was left when it ended. It barely felt like it began. We were introduced and foreshadowed to so many things that never got addressed. I understand that this is the first in the series, but I would’ve liked at least one big revelation to lean on while we await the release of the next book.

Overall, I enjoyed Wither very much. It’s intense, imaginative, thought-provoking and one of the most gracefully disturbing dystopian novels I’ve ever read.

Other reviews for Wither:
Good Books And Good Wine.
Chick Loves Lit.
Bree's Books.


  1. I really loved this one myself. I think what you said about hating Linden and then feeling for him was completely intentional on the part of DeStefano since that's essentially what Rhine does too. It's going to be a frustratingly long wait for the next book. :)

  2. I agree about the ending-it just stopped instead of teasing us with something to ponder while we wait for the next book.

  3. I agree about the ending. I got to the last 10 pages and wondered how it would all be tied up. But, it was still a good book and I look forward to the next.

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