Author: Lauren DeStefano
Narrator: Angela Lin
Publisher: Recorded Books; arrangement with Irene Goodman Lit. Ag. (2011)
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?
ReviewI came into this book with an open mind, as wide as the big blue sky. What filled my mind were characters that I cared nothing for. A story that was mildly intriguing. A plot that moved like frozen molasses. I don’t think I can tell you adequately how incredibly slow this story moved, how many times I heard the phrases “sister-wives,” “house governor,” “our husband Linden,” and “my twin brother Rowan.” It really irritates me when an author doesn’t think that the reader is smart enough to remember who is who and constantly repeats things.
Now that I’ve been overly critical toward the author, let’s move on to the actual story. I like that DeStefano did something that I’ve not seen in YA/dystopian yet: that the genetically perfected offspring die young…And there’s no cure.
I grew to LOVE Jenna! And then the thing happened. And I nearly cried. Cecily is another story. I cared absolutely nothing for her, until one little bit right near the end of the book. If you read (or have read) this, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Rhine…well, she was just irritating. I can’t put a finger on exactly what it was about her that raked my nerves, but she did. I really can’t understand why Rhine never just told Linden the truth. The truth about where she was from, who she is, that she has a twin brother, how she ended up as his wife. Why didn’t she try to send a letter to Rowan? Why?
Did I mention how incredibly slow Wither was?
Even though the story isn’t complete, and this is only the first of a trilogy, I’m passing on the rest.
Get to reading,