I purchased this book on Amazon because the storyline immediately hooked me.
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
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 really can't say enough about how wonderful this book is. Every time I try to write this paragraph I fangirl out and end up sounding like a rabid stalker. (Oops.) This book, and the two that follow it, are the best kind of books there are: the ones you hate to put down for even a moment. Lauren DeStefano does a fantastic job of creating a frightening dystopian world that feels like something that could actually happen, and Wither is all the more terrifying because of that realism.
The story starts out with a frightening scene that immediately makes the reader worry for Rhine, and that tension is well maintained throughout the book. Rhine's father-in-law Vaughn is one of the coldest villains I've read recently and I found myself feeling a sense of dread every time he appeared on the scene. The girls are so isolated in the mansion, and Linden so naive and sheltered, that you are really left feeling as though Vaughn could do almost anything to Rhine and get away with it.
Wither does deal with some "tough topics" and I can see why it has received some mixed reviews because of that, but I personally love that DeStefano didn't shy away from dealing with a difficult subject. I also liked that Rhine, Jenna and Cecily all handle their forced marriage in very different ways, and their individual backgrounds clearly influence their perspectives.
Wither easily earns 5 stars from me. I know this is a series that I will reread in the future when I want to visit Rhine and Cecily again.
If you've read Wither, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. If you haven't, read it and come back! :)
Now go check out Lauren DeStefano's author website, follow her on Twitter, and like her facebook page, because she is talented and hilarious and you definitely want to read whatever she is currently writing, even if that's a tweet about her cat.