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.
Word of mouth travels fast...it seems that all of my online buddies have already read this novel and steadfastly approve, myself included. What a brilliant debut! When you envision your own novel, you only dare hope that it comes out half as amazing as Lauren DeStefano's futuristic vision of our world. If you haven't heard great things about this book, you must be holed up in a cave. I cannot recommend reading this book enough!
The characterization in 'Wither' is absolutely phenomenal. The characters are captivating and completely human in their exploits. Every new thing you learn about them is a kick in the pants, pulling you into the story that much further. The polygamy aspect of the story really intrigued me, in the same way that you have to look at an accident on the highway as you pass...you know it's disturbing, but somehow seeing the devastation will help you understand it. DeStefano really delves into the subject and how it affects the sister wives, though her concentration is on Rhine, the main character.
I adore Rhine's character. She's strong and oh-so-stubborn, her focus only on escaping this sham of a marriage and getting back to her brother Rowan, though she's distracted by the handsome and sympathetic Gabriel. Gabriel's character was the yin to Rhine's yang, but I still felt myself begrudgingly sympathetic towards Linden, despite his actions; I suppose that's just a testament to the writer's abilities. She's just able to give such depth to the characters, as well as the world she's created for them.
I am in love with this novel. It's my #1 read for this year, and it was unexpected. I love the dystopian genre, so I knew I would like it, but wow, I like it like I like the hunger games. It's unique and sets itself completely apart from the rest of the genre. It's defiant and it asks questions that some would be afraid to answer. But it's unequivocally fearless and courageously tests the waters, and it has found an audience waiting to tread those waters unafraid. I cannot wait to read more of Rhine's story!