Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Today is Wither's release day, though from what I hear, copies of the book have already sneaked into bookstores.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy (#1)

Pages: 356
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Published: March 22nd, 2011
IBSN: 9781442409057

Source: Galley Grab

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.

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

Wither is yet another new dystopia on the YA scene. It explores the effect of humans playing with genetics in order to 'play God' and better the race. The premise was unique enough, but I felt like it could have gone deeper, and that some aspects weren't explained a whole lot. When women die at 20 and men die at 25, why would girls be stolen away, and then killed? Wouldn't women be taken care of, considering reproduction would be a huge issue? And there wasn't any mention of a government or authority, which could have added a whole other layer to the premise.

Rhine was a strong character. She was completely determined in her mission to escape. On top of being unswayable (a real word, I swear), she was also emotional, which made her an easy-to-relate-to character.

The plot was slow, though rarely boring. From Rhine's capture, to being sent to the mansion, to making her escape plans, the story was engaging.

Lauren DeStefano's writing style was remarkable. I don't usually actually notice the writing style while reading unless it stands out, and so that says something about her prose.

The ending was satisfying, and didn't end in a cliffhanger like most of the recently released books I've read have. Though, I wonder where the next two books in the trilogy will go. There wasn't a lot left open-ended to be explored in further books.

I give Wither a 3 out of 5. Well, somewhere between a 3 and a 4. I'll stick to 3.

I read this book for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.