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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

So many people seem to be looking forward to this one that I almost feel guilty posting that I didn't love it. Nevertheless, it's the truth. I actually read this one before I had the blog so I'm reposting my review from Goodreads.

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 liked the concept here even if it requires a major suspension of disbelief - that in the future boys only live to 25 and females only live to 20- but it wasn't really fleshed out all that much. To be fair, given the POV - a sixteen year old girl - maybe she really doesn't know all that much. Or maybe the author's saving that for future books. The whole premise just felt a bit handwavey, especially when you consider that people go through puberty/menopause, etc. at different times.

The characters themselves were a bit two-dimensional. The 'bad' guy seemed really really awful and the 'good' guy was really naive and sweet. The world just seemed like it could be really complex and in comparison, the characters seemed simple.

The book itself is really readable though; I ended up reading it in one sitting despite the flaws. It's really hard to pinpoint why I didn't love it.I suppose I just wanted it to be a bit more sophisticated.  The genetic aspect of it really intrigued me and we really didn't get that many details on that aspect of things.

I've read other good reviews of this one (and other reviews more in line with what I found), so if you're into the dystopian fiction thing, I'd still recommend picking it up and seeing for yourself. (Though if you're looking for dystopian fiction, I'd recommend Delirium by Lauren Oliver over this one).

(reviewed from an e-galley)

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