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Wither by Lauren DeStefano

March 23, 2011 1 comment

This book was actually just released yesterday!  (I received an ARC to review, but was not compensated in any way.  All opinions are mine.)

Doesn’t this book have one of the most beautiful covers?  I love it.  I think whoever designed did a gorgeous job.

I wish the story inside was as well done.  But before I get into that, here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

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 read a lot of reviews of this book on Goodreads and whatnot where people said they were turned off by 1) the child bride thing, and 2) the polygamy thing.

I have to say that those things didn’t really bother me that much.  After all, this is a dystopian novel– their society’s bound to be messed up.  I understand that, in their society, they have to do certain things to propagate the species.

When I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, I was so hopeful for the story.  The premise is so… promising.  It sounds like a great story, but I really feel like the author didn’t deliver.

The characters were underdeveloped, particularly Linden.  There were so many things that I just couldn’t buy.  I didn’t buy that Rhine wouldn’t tell Linden about how his brides really came to him or her suspicions about his father.  I also didn’t really buy that she would still want to leave after the estate had started to become her home.  Her attempts to escape seemed like the coward’s way out, a little.

I DID like the concept of the society, and the sisterhood between the wives.  But those things couldn’t make up for the rest.

I’m just so bummed about this book!  I really, really wanted to love it.  But I couldn’t even bring myself to like it.

And that’s just a shame.

Two stars for falling short of its potential.  Not a horrible book, but not good either.