Author: Lauren DeStefano
Genre: YA/ Dystopian
Source: Simon & Schuster
In a world where modern science has evolved human beings into genetic time bombs — where males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. It has become a hopeless world where most have to resort to prostitution, force and violence. Where young girls are thrust into polygamous marriages in order to keep civilization alive.
When Rhine is kidnapped by Gatherers and forced to be a Bride to Governor Linden - she is forced into a world of wealth and privilege. A new world that although she might not have chosen, she can live comfortable enough. It also helps that she resembles Governor Linden's first wife, Rose, and that she is not sore on the eyes. But Rhine can dream of only one thing.... Freedom. She dreams of returning home to her twin brother and living out the rest of her days (the remaining four years) there. She has no wish to be any man's bride, nor live competing with sister brides, and especially not of bringing a child into a hopeless world.
She knows that she'll have to be smart in order to break free and hopefully with the help of the new friend she finds in her assistant, Gabriel, she just might be able to find hope and the means to break free.
This is my favorite type of dystopia. Where it's not overly incredible - where science took a wrong turn and altered the way things were. Nothing too drastic. Nothing involving bombs or the devastation of the planet. Just some slight tweaks that can make a whole new world of difference. That is what you'll find in Wither.
There were various different dynamics in this story that I really liked. For instance, I loved the camaraderie between Rhine and her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. Although they had one main thing in common, Linden, they also found some peace with one another. Even though all three girls felt differently about their marriage and their living situation, they still cared for each other and formed bonds. There was also the Linden situation - an unwanted husband. Although Rhine (and you, as the reader) want to hate him you find that you can't. He is naive and unaware of exactly how ruthless and cunning the world and his father can be. Not to mention his feelings for Rhine and, her sister wives, are true. Then there is the relationship between Rhine and Gabriel - that although it never felt like love to me (at least not yet) can eventually become something stronger. I think Rhine is too focused in this first book in the trilogy in finding freedom than she is finding true love. I commend her for that.
Ms. DeStefano's Wither is a story that will captivate you. It will hold you from its first pages and spit you out at then end with only one thought: I need more! Rhine is a very strong and brave young woman. Her oppressive situation is one that will have you at the edge of your seat (whether it be in anger, indignation, or just because you can't sit still from the excitement of it all). I cannot wait to see what happens next.