Friday, December 10, 2010

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

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.

If you saw my last IMM post, you’ll know that I received this book last week. It’s not often that there’s a book out there I’d go to extremes to read. This was one of them.

So of course I’d receive said book of my dreams when I’m supposed to be smarting up for my finals. In this situation, I did the obvious, reasonable thing any book-crazy person would do and chose to dive into Wither instead of my boring old textbook. (Why yes, it would SO be my luck to fail a class because I read a book. Figures.)

It’s not easy to describe this novel, nor is it easy to compare it to any other book out there because honestly, there just isn’t another book like it that I’ve read.

Though it is set in the very, very far future, to me, it had the feel of a historical novel. Only, taking place in a dystopian world. With practically all of New York’s corporate buildings turned to factories and orphans roaming the streets begging for food, it’s not hard to imagine the setting as something similar to the Great Depression. Only, with modern technology and science. And the conditions are far much worse.

Lauren DeStefano’s characters are definitely one of the reasons I loved this book so much. One of the most important things about a book in my opinion, is its main character. If I can’t like the narrator, the chances of me liking the book aren’t very good. Thankfully, I loved Rhine. One word to describe her is charismatic; she’s likeable, smart and understandable. She also never made any obviously stupid decisions that many other main characters often do, so thumbs up for that. The supporting cast was just as great, especially Rhine's sister wives. Jenna, Cecily and even Rose were all different people and even with their flaws, I liked them and couldn't help but pity all of them for the life they were forced into.

Despite being a dystopian story, Wither didn’t have much action. Not a lot of action, yet, I was still always compelled to read more, often telling myself just one. more. chapter. Yeah, I guess it goes without saying that that didn’t happen.

Besides the lack of action, the romance was also different than I expected. Most YA books today are BOOM-BAM-in-your-face romance, but I liked that DeStefano made it very realistic and not at all rushed. And I can’t wait to see how it develops even more. You see, this book has a love triangle. It’s subtle, but there and even though I definitely picked a “side” (it is me here), I felt that while I liked my choice more, I knew the other character better. That's slightly confusing, so I’m crossing my fingers that he will be developed further in book two--I can’t wait to see how everything turns out!

Above all, this story is great. You hear of action-packed stories, or character driven ones. This one was... well, a story driven story. It’s such a unique and interesting read that you can’t help but want to find out what’s going to happen next and where the characters will end up. Lauren DeStefano is one fantastic storyteller which makes it even more difficult to believe this is her debut novel.

Wither is an amazing start to what I’m sure will be one awesome trilogy. And though it is a trilogy, unlike most books in a series, after finishing it, I felt sort of... complete. Not complete as in the entire story was over, but it just didn’t leave me with the empty feeling others seem to; it was more than just a setup to the next book.

Wither will be released March 22, 2011 and I know it seems far away, but hopefully the countdown will only build your anticipation. This is a book you cannot miss!

P.S. OMG! This cover! Simon & Schuster, if you happen to make a poster of this-I WANT. I'm contemplating taping the book to my wall because it's so pretty!


  1. GREAT review, can't wait for this book!

  2. I am in love with this cover! It almost doesn't matter what it's about, I want to read it!

  3. So happy to read your review! I just got a review copy too and can't wait to dig in. I'm glad it lived up to your expectations. The start of a series is always slow to me, but as long as there's a nice base to build off of, I'm happy!

  4. Wonderful review! I'm really looking forward to reading Wither. I like how the relationship wasn't rushed, that's always a huge peeve of mine. I also like that the ending made it feel complete. It's nice when a book could be considered a stand alone and not left with so much unanswered. I can't wait!

  5. Haha can I just say jealous of getting this book?! LUCKY ! xD But awesome review ! I so have to read this when it comes out.

  6. I want this book like, yesterday! I agree, the cover is beautiful! And after reading your review I want this book even more. I will not-so-patiently be waiting for this one to be released ;)


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