Thursday, March 17, 2011

READING: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2011
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
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 blew me away!! I can't even stress enough how amazing this book is.
In all honesty though, I was terrified of reading it! I was so sure I'd end up wasting precious hours of my life reading yet another over-hyped, bland debut novel. What I experienced while reading Wither was, fortunately, a far cry from that!

First of all I have to openly state that Lauren's writing is beyond incredible! Such depth and maturity, especially for someone so young and this being her debut novel and all, is very hard to find. She far exceeded my expectations and believe me, this is not an easy book to write! I also loved the whole period and historical feel to Wither, even though it takes place in the future. So, many congrats to Lauren because she totally deserves it and because she simply rocks :)

Now, to the story. The story behind Wither is a dark, gloomy tale about a girl, Rhine, trying to escape her destiny, which is already decided for her not only by nature, but also by  man. She is kidnapped and along with two other girls, are forced to marry someone, Linden,  for the soul purpose of reproduction. The 3 of them, Linden , his father, Mr.Vaughn, who is a scientist and some servants, live in a secluded mansion. The girls are purposely cut off from the outside world, stoically waiting the day they die.
Rhine is a character who undoubtedly deserves the title "protagonist".  She is such an overwhelming presence, you can feel her emotions oozing from the pages, sorrow, anger, happiness. I loved how Lauren chose to portray her human side as well, and all its defects. Like when she finds herself feeling jealous when other women look at her husband, even though she claims to despise him, or when she momentarily thinks that maybe the life she lives isn't that bad after all.
I had no problem whatsoever reading about "sister wives" and their relationship, as some people seem to have had. Don't get me wrong, I still find the whole situation disturbing and degrading. However, I think they were far worse things happening in the book that not only was I not appalled by the polygamist lifestyle and what it entails, but I found myself admiring the true and honest friendship these girls had, even under such dire circumstances. You know they too are victims of Mr.Vaughn's dangerous ambitions and can't but feel sorry for them and the way the are forced to live their short life.

The character that surprised me the most though, was Linden. Lauren turned the tables on us halfway though the book, showing a side to Linden I never thought possible(again, my hat's off to you, Lauren!).
I don't know if I am even allowed to say that he is as much a victim as the girls, seeing that his father uses him to get what he wants whilst keeping him happily ignorant, because that would be completely unfair to the girls and what they were subjected to because of said ignorance. Then again, I found myself feeling so sorry for him and his wasted life. Because he had dreams too, he must have. Only to find out someday that he is gonna die at 25 and that his life's only goal is to procreate. His actions and decisions are so debatable, that even now that I'm writing this I am completely torn.

Finally, I admit that I struggled with this review. Turns out I am not very good at praising because I can't seem to find the right words. I really hope I did found some for Wither though, because it totally deserves it!
Highly recommended, especially to those who loved The Forest Of Hands And Teeth.
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  1. I can't wait to read this! I'm glad to hear that it lived up to its hype!

  2. I think you did an excellent job praising Wither, I was in the same predicament I didn't know how to describe to people how good it is!


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