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.
It seems this year, that the biggest trend in YA books is the dystopian genre, and within this field, there are quite a few books receiving some extra attention. Wither by Lauren DeStefano is one of the many touted as superior in dystopian fiction for 2011, Having read the great things about it certainly outweighed my reluctance to read this type of book; the kind that generally makes me more angsty than usual.
Typical to a dystopic novel, the stories deals with the immediate situation, while regularly flashing back to how life was for Rhine before becoming a young bride. The story line really gives the reader pause to consider such a shortened life span for the characters, being something all humans are concerned with normally. And, as with all books of a similar nature, the limits placed on Rhine and her 'sister-brides' are convincing and evoke heightened frustrations.
The best part of Wither, for me, was Housemaster Vaughn. His character gave the story an added level of near horror, because hints are made to what he is up to, but you never really know. I will admit, my mind went to the worst scenarios possible...and they were bad!
I was a bit disappointed in the ending and the number of questions that weren't resolved by its completion. Fortunately, knowing that there will be other books in the series means readers will hopefully get the necessary answers in subsequent books. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book.
You can find Wither at Amazon, Book Depository, Book Depositury UK