Details: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
- Pub. Date: March 2011
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
- Format: Hardcover , 358pp
- Sales Rank: 10,406
- Age Range: Young Adult
- Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy Series #1
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?
Admittedly, I knew nothing about this book when I picked up at the library other than there was a ton of hype about it and I loved the cover. This cover has an incredibly strong presence but did not at all prepare me for the outstanding story that is Wither. Lauren DeStefano creates a world that is so hard to imagine yet so real that you can’t help but think that this time is just around the corner when women will live to be twenty and men twenty-five due to humans messing with our genetics. Rhine is one of the strongest characters I have read all year. She is ripped from her home, already horribly broken and is sent off to become the bride of a man who can give her anything she wants, that is except her freedom. While living in this wonderful house with Linden’s two other brides she discovers more and more strange things happening in the house and they all seem to revolve around her father-in-law. She becomes the first wife which means she gets the opportunity to leave the property. She says time and time again that she will get out but she has to make it in time or she will die like the others.
The terrifying premise to this story is solid throughout the book, it never waivers from the idea of getting an antidote to keep people from dying but it takes many different forms as the book moves on. The relationship from Linden and Rhine, to the servants, and between the wives themselves really make this book incredibly strong in my opinion. It is difficult to build as many relationships that are in this book and make them all compete and consistent but Lauren DeStefano is a master at doing just that. I enjoyed getting to know each of the wives and how Rhine felt about each one. Also, how she felt about each person around her. For me, this was the strongest part of the story and the one that I enjoyed the most.
The plot is also strong and I felt that Wither was left in a great place so while there was a bit of a cliffhanger for the next book in this series, I was not left frustrated and wondering what happened. All the way around, I felt that Witherwas a well planned and executed book. This was the first book that I have read by Lauren DeStefano and I can tell you right now that there will be many more to come.
My Rating for Wither:
An outstanding story that left me wanting to know what was going to happen next!
*All opinions are my own and I borrowed this book from my local public library, Oxford Public Library.