Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

In the not-too-distant future,
because of genetic engineering,
every human being is
a genetic time bomb.

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.

I was attracted to the cover of this book immediately and then was drawn in from the first page. I seem to read a lot of dystopian stories lately and this one was chilling yet interesting. The future world is a disturbing scene with early death sentences, kidnapping and polygamy being the norm. While some issues were especially unsettling (why would people be accepting of kidnapping and polygamy?) it was easy to assign blame to the "bad guys". Housemaster Vaughn was definitely a bad guy. As an extremely wealthy doctor with a twenty-one year-old son he will do whatever it takes to find a cure for the virus. Rhine and her sister brides were forced to marry Linden and expected to accept their fate. But each has a past and little nuggets of their former lives are doled out throughout the chapters. They aren't quite who they appear to be but which life is worse? Spending their final years in opulence or desperate but free?

I enjoyed the writing and the story flowed with little effort. As it progressed I realized how much symbolism was on the cover. The caged bird, wilting flowers and beautiful young lady are key elements. The author created a world combining historical elements of the past with possibilities of the future. Mystery and suspense build slowly and conflicts for the characters are revealed. While the theme of early death and scientific experiments was frightening, Rhine's determination brings hope. She has learned to be fierce and will fight for her life, her freedom and her twin wherever that may take her.

I look forward to the next book in this trilogy.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for this ARC in exchange for my review.


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release date: 3/22/11
Pages: 356
Price/format: $17.99/hardcover
Type: Teen fiction (ages 14 and up)

1 comment:

  1. I want to read this one but I only have the eARC from GalleyGrab so I have to find a way to read it from there. Thanks for the review! I'm glad the cover portrays the actual story.


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