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 she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
When I first saw the cover to WITHER I was immediately drawn to it. It seemed beautiful and haunting enveloped in a mystery that beckoned me to read the story that was within it's pages, demanding all of my attention. Then as I began reading WITHER I was held captive and unlike Rhine I did not want to escape.
It has been days since I have finished WITHER and it is still on the forefront of my mind. I don't think that story has had this hold on me in a long while. I appreciated the story conflict of a society's youth never growing old, never seeing their children grow up and always knowing when they would die. I could not even fathom how I would react knowing that information, then compound it with how women are callously treated during that time. WOW. It is a bit brutal and disconcerting, but I could not stop reading.
Rhine's anger and resentment from being ruthlessly abducted from her twin brother and forced into marriage to a wealthy family was believable and honest. I appreciated and understood her need to escape and reach her brother. It did not matter that she would leave the life of riches behind, for what is luxury and privilege when you don't have your freedom, when you cannot see your family or love whom you wish to? Another appreciated storyline is Rhine's camaraderie with her sister wives Jenna and Cecily, their relationship was endearing and heartbreaking and created some of the best moments in the book. While Rhine's relationship with her husband, Linden seemed odd, it wasn't as odd as her ultra creepy father-in-law housemaster Vaughn. He sets the perfect mood of mystery and conflict that provided Rhine with a perfect vessel to direct her hate.
Despite my adoration for this story I did have a slight issue with how the last few pages of the story went. I cannot divuldge much without giving away the story, but It is something that I cannot wrap my brain around. It seemed a bit too simple, too easy considering everything prior to that point.
I believe that there are two types of exceptional storytellers. One can narrate a story that is so well visualized and entertaining that you become immersed within it's depths, carried away into the story that is being told while the other is able to have intelligent well-crafted scenes, dialogue and structure with a strong sense of timing and rhythm. When you have a partnership of both types then you have something truly remarkable like Lauren DeStefano has created with WITHER.
Fans of Dystopian novels will find WITHER to be a great read for it is original and enthralling and for anyone else seeking an amazing read then you need not look any further.