Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

In the not too distant future, people are dying young – men at twenty five, women at twenty – with the exception of first generations, who were born before cancer was cured, which is what caused the demise of humans. In desperate attempts to save the human race, girls are stolen from the streets, their workplaces and even their homes, to be sold on into a forced marriage with their ‘sister wives’…that is if they’re not shot because they don’t catch the eye of their suitor. Rhine is one of these girls; she’s desperate to return home, but is plagued by problems, particularly the cruel insane father of her husband, Linden, who experiments on people for living…

I’m in love with the cover, and for once, it’s not disguising a horrible book – I love the name, style, dress, how much the model actually looks like the character she’s supposed to be depicting and the bird cage representing how Rhine feels in her new life - covers are fast becoming my favourite part of a book!

Anyway, I loved Wither as much as the cover, although I do have a few complaints – namely that I would imagine if men and women die so young, then there would be a lot more consequences than there are brushed upon in the book, and most likely the collapse of society, but DeStefano makes it out to be more of an inconvenience than anything else, and chooses to not explore these knock-on effects, other than the kidnaps, or is unaware of what would happen, which I hope she isn’t and that it is covered in the sequels. Although it is obviously a pivotal part of the story, I still feel uncomfortable reading about the kidnapping of young girls for rich men to impregnate, but it thankfully isn’t delved into too deeply, but did leave me wondering why it appears that only girls are kidnapped, and why the unwanted ones were shot when there is a short supply of ‘baby machines’ anyway. Finally, I found that many things were not explained sufficiently, like exactly how the virus came about and how everyone manages to get the virus at the same age, depending on their gender, but again hopefully that will be explained, and that Wither had a very slow pace as everything was drawn out.

However, there is not a book out there that is perfect, and I think the writing almost makes up for every flaw this book has, but not quite the poor world-building and understanding of both science and society and the world in general (if the ice caps melted we would all be screwed, especially Florida and New York, and America wouldn’t be the only country in the world to survive a large scale war because it had the best technology!), and I also liked the characters (they were fairly well-developed and complex, and you really hated Housemaster Vaughan) and the plot, especially the twists that I didn’t expect, as it is very shocking and thought-provoking. Despite its flaws and lack of research, Wither is a wonderful book, and I can’t wait for the sequel!

[SYNOPSIS: 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.


  1. Great review! I've been meaning to read this one but almost scared to because of all the mixed opinions on it. It doesn't sound too bad though if the writing is that good.

    Xpresso Reads

  2. @Giselle Thank you :) You should definitely give it a go and see what you think of it - it's well worth a read and the writing is lovely :)


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