Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 loosing 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.
Wither was a unique and interesting read that kept me captivated, and at times, horrified. The setting of the book was one that I struggled to accept. The idea of teen brides being forced into polygamous marriages for the sole purpose of continuing the human race honestly freaked me out. A lot. I had heard great things about this book, however, and I decided to give a try. I'm glad I did.
The story of Rhine captivated me from the start. She was brave, and smart, and stubborn, and I admired her strength in the face of adversity. At first I hated Linden, but I found myself later pitying him as I realized how ignorant he was to the real world. As for the sister wives Jenna and Cecily, I pitied them in the beginning and then I began to see them as they truly were. The character development in this novel was stunning.
As long as you can look past the creep factor of young teenage polygamous brides, I would recommend this book to lovers of unique and creative stories.