Wither by Lauren DeStefano
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
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 have to admit, I live in Utah. All things Polygamist kinda interest me. I was not going to pass up an opportunity to read this one. I was lucky enough to win an Advanced Reader's Copy from the lovely Wastepaperprose on a Twitter giveaway late one boring Friday night. So thank you wastepaperprose!
I want to start off by mentioning this cover. It's really a wonderful thing with cover art that they are putting on the Young Adult novels these days, such a huge improvement and this one is to die for! The amazing colors and artwork (and the model that looks like Mandy Moore) is worth the money in itself. It's beautiful and looks beautiful on my shelf.
Now on to other things:
I gave this one a 5 out of 5. I took my time reading this one because I really wanted to absorb into this world. Here, after a huge disaster North America is the only continent to survive and people are dying younger because of a new disease. There are some people fighting for a cure and some that say mankind was meant to die off and fight those wanting to find a cure. Rhine's parents were on the side of wanting a cure, and die in a very unexpected and saddening way. So Rhine and her twin brother are left to feed and take care of themselves, finding jobs here and there and stealing. They are completely dependent on one another and one day Rhine is kidnapped, put in a van and driven far away. Turns out she is chosen to wed the son of a very wealthy man and taken to his mansion to be one of 3 other young wives aging 13-18.
Next enters Linden, their new husband and Rose, his wife who is sick with the disease and is slowly dying. This disease is horrific, painful, skin eating gross and a very awful way to die. Rose and Rhine become close and Rose passes on her knowledge of Linden and how the Mansion is run. So this is really our first real introduction to the story and Vaughn. Vaughn is a doctor who is trying to find the cure and also Linden's father who resides in the Mansion as well. He is what is known as a first generation and older than the time the disease began so has lived to an older age.
The Mansion is very well protected, large yard, gate, trees all surrounding the house. The girls have to earn their "freedom" to spend time in the yard, they are not allowed on the other floors of the house without supervision and spend most of their time sitting in the Library.
Things that stuck with me after reading:
1. What they do to the girls in the van that were not chosen as wives
2. Are the girls the only ones not fully aware of their surroundings and their situations
3. Dr Vaughn and his creepy basement lab
4. Linden and everything about his family and life.
5. Would it be so bad to be pampered over the rest of a very short life
6. How Holograms are completely awesome and now I want one!
I loved this story, I never thought it dragged, it never disappointed. The new stories and twists were all brought in at the perfect times and it really kept the story rolling. I was saddened that it had ended and very happy that it will be a trilogy because I would really like to see what might happen next.
Extras added to website! View a map of the mansion as well as other interesting under the Extra's button You can also read an Excerpt! here: http://thechemicalgardenbooks.com/wither/
Amazing, thought provoking and heart breaking. There were times that I literally gasped out loud while reading.