Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Synopsis 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 she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
Wow! What a book! This book is amazing! I don't know what else to say! This book is so good- it moved me, and fired up my imagination, it tugged at my heartstrings and made me scared.
Wither is set in a scary world where cancer has been cured but the cost is that women die at age 20, men at age 25. There are extremes of wealth of poverty, and situations where young girls are snatched to be forced into polygamous marriages for breeding.
Rhine is one of these girls taken away from her twin brother, and married to Linden, a wealthy young man miles away from her home. Rhine is given everything she could ask for in the way of food, fancy clothes, and luxury, but she is a prisoner in the house.
Linden is actually a fairly decent guy- very naive and sheltered from the real world, but he is always good to Rhine and her sister wives- but it is his father who is really terrifying. Always controlling, always manipulating the situation from behind the scenes, and ruthless if things don't go his way. And everyone except Linden can see it.
The fact that got me was that I always wanted to keep reading the story. I was so curious as to what would happen, and so involved in the life of the place. I felt so immersed in their world, like I was right there in that house with those girls. The story stuck in mind, and was so vivid that I was dreaming about it. I picked up the book to try and fit in a few more pages every chance I got, and was just so eager to see how the story would end.
The three girls married to Linden actually become very good friends and I loved the sisterly like bond between them. The three of them are so different, but they grow so close and support each other, with a bond that Linden just cannot be a part of. They even band together to coerce him and manipulate their own way in things.
Then there is Gabriel, who works as a servant in the house, and who catches Rhine's attention. At first he is the only person who treats her with humanity, but he is also someone for Rhine to talk to, escaping into the kitchen with him to help out when she feels she needs to hide away for a little bit. As their friendship develops into something more, earning Linden's trust and tricking her way out of her captivity becomes the only thing on Rhine's mind.
I loved this book so much. It has had a powerful effect on me- moved me, and horrified me, made me fall in love and gripped me in it's scarily vivid futuristic vision. All the interactions between Rhine and her sister wives were so heartfelt and gave Rhine a real tie to her new surroundings. I was pulled in by the drama, the intrigue and the romance. I liked the way that it ended, and am so eager to read Fever now!
Book 2- Fever