Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: March 22, 2011
Genre: YA, dystopian
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy
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 limted time she has left.
I loved this story. I’ve realized recently that I’m becoming a fan of dystopian stories, which I’ve never read until now. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that there are so many of them coming out right now, but either way, I’m quickly becoming addicted. WITHER is a great story about Rhine, a 16-year-old girl who is abducted and taken to a grand estate to be the bride of some rich, young man. While here, she experiences sister wives, attendants, domestics, a comfortable room, a life free of danger and a man who loves her. But all she can think is: I need to get out. And I don’t blame her. Aside from the close bonds she forms with Jenna, one of her sister wives, and Gabriel, an attendant she becomes attracted to, Rhine can only think about her twin brother who is now alone and probably heartbroken without her.
Lauren’s writing is magical. She knows just the right words to use to make me feel everything Rhine feels. The emotions were portrayed amazingly. I could never imagine being in any position like Rhine's, but I could sympathize with her because of the way Lauren wrote. She made me feel like I was there with Rhine the whole time - that whatever Rhine went through, I went through it, too. And it hurt to watch poor Rhine cry through the night or stand in front of her father-in-law in fear, knowing I couldn’t do anything to help her! When those emotions are pulled out of me when reading a book, I know that the author is an amazing writer.
The whole concept of the story was great. I loved the way Lauren didn’t feel the need to take the first hundred pages explaining the world. Slowly, but surely, we learned about Rhine’s world and how things worked there. There were also a couple flashbacks so we could see the way Rhine and her brother Rowan were living before she was swept up by the Gatherers. I prefer this way of learning about the dystopian world because it doesn’t make the beginning drag and it prevents a lot of information from being thrown at you all at once, which can be overwhelming and also boring.
If I didn’t love a character in this book, then I hated them with as much passion. There were not many characters who were just kind of there and didn’t make me feel for them in any way. They all felt like real people to me. The one character who I couldn’t decide whether to love or hate was Linden, Rhine’s husband. I really wanted to hate him because it was his fault Rhine was stuck in that estate in the first place, but he didn’t make it easy. He was such a sweet, fragile young man, and as you learn later on… well you’ll have to read it yourself if you want to know why it’s hard to hate Linden Ashby. Even Rhine found it hard to hate him eventually...
Ok, I need to talk about Gabriel. I really liked him as a love interest for Rhine. The weird thing is that he wasn’t actually in a lot of the book as a character, but he was very often there as an idea or a thought. Let me explain. Even though Rhine and Gabriel didn’t interact a lot, Rhine thought of him often. For example, if she didn’t see him for a while, she worried about him. There were always occasions where Rhine was thinking about Gabriel even though he wasn’t around her very much. I think that’s what made me like them together so much: the fact that he was sort of a light in this dark place for her. I really hope their relationship grows in the next book.
I was happy with the way this book ended. I am so ready for the next book to come out, although I can’t find any information about it anywhere. Even though I finished this book over a week ago, I still find myself thinking about it and what is going to happen next. What if he...? Will she...? Does he...? So many questions that I can’t finish because I want to avoid spoiling it for you all! Seriously, if you’re into any kind of dystopians that also include romance, pick this one up when it comes out next Tuesday. You don’t want to miss it.
As a bonus, VLC Productions and Simon & Schuster just released the book trailer for WITHER yesterday. Check it out here.
Can't wait much longer? Preorder WITHER from The Book Depository!