Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Title : Wither
Author : Lauren DeStefano
Genre : Dystopian
Published Date : March 22nd 2011
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages : 358
Source : Borrowed
Rating : ✿✿✿✿✿

From Goodreads :
What if you knew exactly when you’d die? 

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?


I had actually overlooked this book a few times, and even when some people recommended it to me, and all the dazzling reviews on Goodreads that I've reads, I just couldn't bring myself to read this book. But oh wow, now I really regret not trying this book earlier.

"Fate, I think, is a thief."

If your lifespan was measured even before you was born, and you knew that you would only live for a good twenty years, what would you do? If you had to live with a natural time bomb ticking in your body, what would you do? Wither was set on a dystopian future world after the World War III where only North America remained, where human genetic was being modified, and no man would survive twenty-five, and woman twenty. Every year, the rich people would reap some potential girl to be married and to bred with. They were called the Brides. When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery was unknowingly reaped to become a Bride, her life took a sudden turn. From a poor girl into a pampered woman, the only thing she missed—and dying to have—was freedom. But what if escaping means you have to risked your life and all the thing you have? And what if 'all' wasn't enough?

I really love the plot of this book, and the pacing was fast enough it could covered many aspect of the book in such a short amount of time. The very first opening chapter was gripping, and I was sucked to it right from the beginning. The detail was given in the right amount—not too much and not too little—and the way this story was more character-driven than plot-driven was really such a nice thing as well. The story took a sudden up and down, and I found myself being slammed over and over on an emotional roller coaster ride throughout this book.

The character, I found, was really brilliant, and even the secondary character—like the maid or the cook—had their own characteristic and was able to stood distinctly among the other.
Rhine character, as our main character, was really interesting, and even though she was portrayed as a quiet one, and the nice bride who didn't complain, she actually had a deep and unique personality, and Lauren DeStefano had told us in a nice way through her narration and inner thought, that often clashed with her actual action. Her past, that wasn't really nice, had affected her personality to be a suspicious person and all that, and it really showed in a nice way.
I also really love both of Rhine's sister wives. Even if they were not as complex and deep as Rhine, they both did have a constant personality that unique to them
Jenna, the oldest and wisest, obviously showed that she dislike being married to Linden even when they first met, and stayed low-spoken throughout their relationship. This trait of hers stayed true through the whole book, and her act really complemented her personality and made her seemed truly human. In fact, she was my most favorite character in this book, and that was mainly for her strong and shining personality.
Cecily, the youngest one, loud and finicky, she also had a constant character. And what made her more interesting is that her childishness really shown, and that she was actually nice at heart but naïve at mind and action. I also love how her personality could helped advancing the stories and adding some twist that wouldn't been there if she didn't exist. Her grief later in the book seemed very real also, and I love how she would become miserable and crying over a small things, not because she was being overly-dramatic, but well, that was how stressed people reacted. It really showed her real self, and how she was just a girl craving for acceptance and favoritism.
Linden Ashby, as the husband of Rhine, Jenna, and Cecily, however, didn't really shown much of his personality, and although his broken heart made him quite human easily in the story, he just felt flat for the rest of it, and didn't popped out of the book.

Some thing I didn't quite like from this book was Vaughn Ashby, the main antagonist of this story, as well as Linden father and the Housemaster of their mansion. He was portrayed as a cunning yet charismatic man, who could his prey easily and made them believed in him without any question. Sure, his cunning act was really great and it stood out, but his character felt a bit too black-and-white, and he didn't had any good side of him that could made us sympathize with him rather than hating him all over.
The other thing was the romance between Rhine and Gabriel. Sure, it was not the all of sudden romance that came out of nowhere kind of thing, but it felt like that their love didn't have any solid and certain base, and it didn't make it believable enough.

Overall, if you would like to read some fresh dystopian that was different from most of dystopian books out there, with a twist of sci-fi, and a strong and balanced character in it, I highly recommended this one. Really worth a try.

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  1. I'm glad you liked this book. I really enjoyed it. The author really did do a good job of making the characters have depth and personality. Hope you like the next one, too! I really enjoyed it and can't wait to get my hands on the last one.

  2. I just finished the last book in this trilogy and I definitely agree with you about Vaughn but, after reading the last book I felt like Destefano added a lot more to his character that made you understand him a little bit more.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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