Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Summary: By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years–leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Status: Out Now, Harper Voyager.


I first saw this book while surfing the Waterstones world of books online, and to be fair it didnt tickle my fancy. Obviously the screen was too small to appreciate the books cover, and how amazingly well it ties in with the novel. The blurb is also built to entice.

Initial problems with the book; why in EVERY dystopian i read is it America…America…America. Please give me a good reason why every time something bad happens, America survives? Why not Europe or Asia? also if only a portion of America remained how can they be industialised, where are crops grown and so forth. Moving on from this the story is very pretty, poetic even.

Rhine’s world is always changing, and now she is a bride to a man she doesn’t love, but who adores her. Rhine is abviously a likable person becoming friends with Rose (the first wife who dies) and Jenna, another wife who was picked. DeStefano portrays all of Rhines misgivings and thoughts into her writing and clearly give the reader a real sense of how Rhine negotiates her way around the house and Lindens world.

Each character was built up that they would be remembered and even as the book goes on you wonder.. what happened to XXX? DeStefano also makes sure that the romantic element was constructively given a back seat in this novel without ever disappearing. You were left with two possible loves, Rhine and Linden or Rhine and Gabriel, which is so creatively done you feel that she could live happily with either.

DeStefano also makes sure it is not lost on the reader that Rhine knows she is dying and that all she wants is freedom, but  Hey, her father-in-law has other ideas.

This book left me with the feeling that freedom is very important to Rhine and that while she could live happily with Linden she wouldn’t actually be happy.


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