Dec 20, 2010

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine has been taken by the Gatherers. These roving bands of thieves steal their world's most valuable resource: young girls. In a world where men die at 25 and women die at 20, the Gatherers are making a profit off stealing young girls & selling them into prostitution, workhouses, or (potentially one of the worst) into a loveless marriage where they're forced to give birth to the next generation. The latter is what has happened to Rhine & while she is constantly worried about her twin brother & what he's doing, she's determined to get back to him.

Rhine, Jenna, & Cecily were all married to a semi-famous architect named Linden Ashby. While they each have their own room & their own attendant, they are confined to the wife floor of an expansive mansion. Rhine manages to quickly bond with the current wife Rose, who is in the throes of death. Rose warns Rhine not to underestimate Linden's father, he's a ruthless doctor that will protect his work & his son, at any cost. After Rose's death, Rhine inherits her status as the "first wife," a more public role than that of the other wives, and sets about earning Linden's trust so she can make a break for it at the earliest moment.

But Rhine didn't expect to actually grow fond of her sister wives, being to care for her husband & she certainly never expected Gabriel.

This is an attention-grabbing first novel in a new series by a debut author! I must say that I am quite impressed with this book. It manages to be set in a future, semi-apocalyptic world where everyone is dying from an unknown virus & yet seem so currently. I feel like it draws several parallels to present-day situations where young girls are treated like products to be distributed rather than the human being that they are.

Rhine is such an amiable character. Her story really draws you in & also gives you a picture of what's happened in the world. Her memories of her parents really helped flesh out what was going on in the rest of the world while she was stuck under Linden's house arrest. The "sister wife" concept was a first for me outside of a "religious-polygamy" setting, but it fit quite well with the "we need to make lots of babies quickly to find an antidote to what's killing us" scenario. I think it really added depth to the multitude of experiences by young girls in this society.

While I felt the writing was a bit repetitive at times (as in using the same phrase to covey the same emotion/memory), overall it was very metered & perfectly timed. The word choice really made a difference as well. There's not an adequate way to really describe it without giving away certain situations, but suffice it to say that this is a book that you won't want to miss.

On a side note, I must say that this book inspired me to create a playlist to listen to. The words of each song really convey the actions taking place. Listen, enjoy, & let me know what you think!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

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