What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every newborn 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 is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
I completely understand what all the raving was about now. This book was A-mazing. Seriously. I'm hoping I don't gush all over this review with its amazingness.
To start, the concept was much different than any other dystopian I've read. Most are simply a post-apocalyptic world or a society with major flaws. I found it a bit difficult to imagine a world where most things still appear normal in the sense of how we see the world now knowing it was dystopian. It was also hard to imagine a world where "men" can be 15. I mean, the people who were "old" and close to death were only a year older than myself. It's crazy.
The writing in Wither was absolutely fantastic. It was beautiful and yet morose. The descriptions of everything from snow to fancy dresses were so fantastic, I wanted to be there myself despite the hopelessness of the world. And the characters DeStefano creates are just as fantastic as the writing itself. I found myself feeling sympathy for Linden though I knew I should hate him as Rhine did. Speaking of Rhine. I loved her. She was so genuine and yet still a strong lead. Instead of being all pushy and in-your-face about her strength and determination, though, she kept it underneath the surface making me respect her all the more.
I was so torn between how I wanted it to end. I both wanted Rhine to escape and to stay. In the end, I was happy with the ending but it sadly didn't leave me with that "I need more now!" feeling. If the cover didn't say Trilogy right on it, I could have easily assumed this was a standalone. Don't mistake that minor whining on my part to be a true complaint, though. I will be awaiting the next in the series as you most certainly will when you read it.
Final thoughts: Any fan of dystopia will definitely want to get their hands on this. If you're wary of dystopian or think you don't like it, give this one a try. It's a different vibe than the "despair, despair, despair" of others. Go to the bookstore, library, borrow from a friend: whatever you need to do, go get this book immediately.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: March 2011
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1
Rating: 5 stars