Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teen Fiction Tuesday: Wither

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Reading Level: 14 and up
Enjoyment Level: Highest, Highest, Highest

I have to thank Anna and Bernadette over at S & S publicity for sending this book to me. I wanted to read it and my wish was granted without even asking for it! I love, love, love this book.

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 limited time she has left.

So this is one where I could just put “gush, love, gush” for the entire review, but that wouldn’t be very informative, would it? You want to read about how the characters are amazing and the story is intense and interesting.

The characters are amazing. Rhine’s plight doesn’t make her whiny or pathetic. She shows a quiet strength and a lot of depth as she struggles to make sense of what’s happened to her. Her new life is hard on her, but in her world, the wealth she’s thrown into is enough to turn her head a few times. She holds on by remembering freedom and that she has a brother who needs her. I loved the grace she showed under pressure, and the way she handled her relationships with her sister wives and her “husband”.

I thought Wither would be more of a fantasy, but the plot is definitely sci-fi with it’s genetically engineered children and virus. There are a lot of questions about what’s happening to the human race. I loved the way the author handled the characters researching an antidote to the virus. Just like issues in reality, the fictional issue had people on both sides – those that said the human race needed the antidote and those who were for humans to die out gracefully. And set against this, the father of Rhine’s “husband” is determined and relentless in his pursuit of an antidote.

I started and had to finish this in just one day. I couldn’t put it down, and that’s definitely the mark of an excellent book. If you haven’t put this on your to-read list, you should. It’s well worth the read, and it’s a unique idea in the current dystopian overload.

Until next time, go read something!

~ Vilate