I just finished reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking 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 kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. 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 is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?
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?
Wither was another one of those books that I had heard people raving about, but didn't know anything about. So I was a little hesitant when starting it since I don't always love what everyone else does. But I really enjoyed this story!
I thought the premise of the story was pretty unique--The population is dying out. Women die at the age of 20 and men die at the age of 25. To combat that, and antidote is trying to be made but meanwhile young teenage girls are being kidnapped to brides of rich men so they can bear more children. Most of these men have multiple wives.
I really liked Rhine. She tried so hard to stay strong but showed some vulnerability in her fondness for Linden. And I loved how she bonded with her sister wives. Jenna and Cecily were fun characters too. And I felt bad for Linden. He was just as much trapped in his own home as the sister wives were too. But I felt like he really loved Rhine and wanted her to be happy. Gabriel, was okay. I didn't really get Rhine's attraction to him, but to each her own.
I got pretty engrossed in this story. I could never figure out if she was going to be able to escape or if she would change her mind and stay in the house. But the ending was a good one and I'm glad I have the next book in the Chemical Garden series, Fever, coming to me next. And I just saw that there is a short story from the first bride's point of view that I think I will download to read next. It's called Seeds of Wither.
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 91
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 73
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 79
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 4
*FTC Disclosure: This book was given to me for free by the publisher for a