Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

by Lauren DeStefano

UK Release date: I'm honestly not sure. The press release says January 9th 2012 but while finding the cover on the Harper website it seems like the book is already out.
Summary: 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 she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
This book was different to what I was expecting (not sure why, because the summary does sum it up pretty well and isn't ridiculously vague like some summaries can be) but it was in a really good way. I really liked the book, maybe even loved it.

It seems like dystopians are the new thing in the world of YA lit and there's a flood of them that have been released in the past year or so and there's still more coming (not that I'm complaining, I love dystopians) and this one is probably one of my favourites I've read this year - it reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale but in a good way.

It wasn't totally perfect, so I'll get the negatives out of the way first:

It was one of those books that I really had to suspend disbelief for - I didn't find myself reading it and being all, "Yeah, I could see how the world could end up like that, that makes sense." - and there were things about the world that felt like it could've been explained better and sometimes the world seemed advanced while other times it didn't and things like holograms just felt kind of contrary in the world described. Basically, as far as world building and believability goes, I think it could've been done better with more explanation.

Now, onto the positives. All those things I mentioned? They didn't really have much of an impact on how much I enjoyed the story. I was totally hooked from the start, the story was addictive and it's one of those books where I would tell myself just one more chapter over and over again but couldn't put it down.

I really liked the writing and the characters and the way Lauren somehow managed to make me really care about them - even characters I hated in the beginning she somehow fleshed them out and made them real to me and made me care about what happened to them.

Rhine was a really good protagonist, although I disagree with her way of handling some situations and didn't really understand why she did certain things (I'm trying to explain that without giving spoilers but I failed), but overall, I really liked her and was totally caught up in her emotions.

The romance in the book? I loved that part. It was subtle. It didn't feel like I was reading a romance book where that is the majority of the plot and the rest of the story revolves around it - instead, it felt like a natural subplot and I really liked it. It was sweet and didn't feel forced.

My favourite part of the book was the whole sister wives relationship - that part was just done really well. There's something weirdly fascinating about that aspect of the story (I found the same thing interesting in the book A Thousand Splendid Suns too) - polygamy is this weirdly foreign concept to me and I've found that the most interesting part isn't actually the fact that the man has more than one wife, it's the relationship that the wives have, the bond that forms between them and how they really do become like sisters. And - I'm rambling, but yeah, I loved that part of the book.

To sum up: I really liked the book and if you like YA dystopians then I recommend this one because it's fab. What it's lacking in world building, it makes up for it with the characters that you can't help but care about and you get thoroughly pulled into the story. It left me dying to read the sequel while not leaving me hanging in that horrible way that some series books tend to do.


p.s. seriously, sorry if this review is a rambling/incoherent mess, it's hard to keep my eyes open right now but I wanted to talk about the book as soon as I finished it.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I really enjoyed this one, too---definitely looking forward to book two!



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