Jan 13, 2011

*Review--E-ARC Wither by Lauren DeStefano*


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 limted time she has left.

I received this E-ARC from Simon & Schuster.

I've been hearing a lot of anticipation regarding Lauren DeStefano's debut Wither, so when I had the opportunity to read the E-ARC I thought, why not? And it was pretty good too actually.

Please keep in mind that I am a strong fan of paranormal books: urban fantasy, some paranormal romance and Paranormal YA so my opinions here may not be 100% adoration, but it was still a decent read, just not exactly my taste. Give me werewolves or another supes any day! But I was curious about this one, hence the reason why I read it.

It is set in the future, an unclear year or anything. There are references to "our time" here in the 21st century and what not. But in this reality there is a deadly virus that the new generations are born with. Girls die when they are 20 years old and boys 25 years old--why boys get the extra 5 years I have no idea. And what makes it a little difficult to understand is that there are still a batch of "first generations" living, meaning these people age older than 20 or 25. So that part makes the timeline a little harder to compute for me. Obviously we aren't too far into the future or this new virus thing is still pretty new.

The situation Rhine finds herself in is sort of scary. Because of the short lifespan she and the others have, there is a group called the Gatherers that kidnaps young girls as young as 13 so they can become wives and bear children for a new generation and many people still hope for a cure. Of course there is a group against finding a cure as well.

Seeing Rhine being sold to a husband was very unnerving. It reminded me of The Missing with Tommy Lee Jones when his granddaughter was kidnapped to be sold to Native Americans for the same purpose. It was a little terrifying. And there in the beginning when we are seeing what Rhine is experiencing, it was kind of scary.

Rhine has 2 other sister wives, one older the other younger. Both very different and the relationship that forms between the three was quite a development. I don't want to get into a play by play on details, the BOC does a decent job of giving you the general idea. Rhine was a likable character as well, not selfish or anything like that. She doesn't want to be a wife, she wants to go back home to her twin bro--who we don't see except for her memories. So she begins to devise a plan to escape the mansion she lives in to return to her brother for her last remaining years.

At times I found myself devastated, because Rhine only has 4 years left to live. Gabriel was 18, so he has a little longer, but the two become somewhat fast friends. For they are both prisoners in the house, but Gabriel has been there for 9 years and it feels like home to him, at times.

So yeah, there is a lot of confusing emotions being tweaked and pushed here. And there are times when I wasn't sure if Rhine was really falling under Linden's spell or if it was still apart of her plan. It felt at times there was going to be the typical love triangle here, but I don't think it was really there. Hard to say without revealing too many details.

I did enjoy Rhine's humor. There were times when she would say or do something that I was totally proud of her for. So she was a very likable character when she spoke whatever was on her mind.

Overall I give it 3/5 stars, maybe 3.5. But again this wasn't my usual type of read. Not sure if I would read the next in the series or not. The ending left it so it could go either way, but since this has the series title Chemical Garden, I am pretty sure there will be more books in the works. Whether or not I'll read them has yet to be determined.

But if you like futuristic like books, that don't have any vampires or anything else supernatural. But with an urban feel still. Then you might like this one. The future here isn't overly confusing, although there are holograms. ;)

This title will release March 22, 2011


  1. I think the premise is really interesting, but I'm confused by all these forced sex slaves/wives/prego books coming out right now - a new trend? Either way, excellent and honest review :)

  2. A very honest review, thanks. The premise sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out and see for myself.

  3. I got this book for a review so I didn't read your review but I will compare when I finish. That's the fun part. =)

  4. This sounds like a pretty good book actually, because I like quirky dystopian!
    Thanks for the review!

  5. This is the book I'm most looking forward to reading, can't wait to get my hands on it.

  6. I'm interested in this one, so I only skimmed your review. I got the eARC too but as you know I'm not thrilled about reading it on my PC and now that NetGalley stopped doing Kindle format I'm not sure what I'm going to do! :(

  7. Love the blog. New follower here!

    I have Wither to read and can not wait to get to it. :)

    I have two dogs and I love them. I'm definitely a dog lover.



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