Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: "Wither" by Lauren DeStefano

The Scoop: (Goodreads)

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings.

My Take:

So, I read Wither and The Chosen One within three days of each other and I have come away with one strong determination: polygamy is creepy.

The Chosen One drove me to tears at the almost helplessness of Kyra's modern-day situation, and made me want to grab her and mother her. With Wither, I identified more closely with Rhine (although she is only three years older than Kyra) and wanted to escape with her, but sometimes wanted her to stay so she could avoid danger. I can't continue to compare them further (I don't have that much blog space), but let's just say I had quite the Sister Wives kind of reading week.

I rarely have a violent bone in my body, but these kidnapping misogynistic men make me want to punch somebody in the face. Hard.

 Freaking loser creeps.

So, enough soapbox, back to the story...

In Wither, our heroine, Rhine, finds herself kidnapped off of the street to become a forced bride to a wealthy young man. Further complicating matters, women (in our futuristic setting) are dying at 20 and men at 25, thus the polygamy angle. Men need women to pump out as many babies as possible to hopefully find a cure for the curse and to ensure the survival of the human race.

Vaughn is not going to be happy until he has this many little Ashby babies.

Life for Rhine was pretty hard out in the big bad world. Conversely, life in captivity gives Rhine a beautiful house, gorgeous clothes, fun parties and unfortunately, two sister-wives, a husband she doesn't know and a creepy father-in-law that makes you go "Ewwww". She realizes she has to get out of the ASAP, but as time goes on her leaving becomes more difficult because of the relationships she's formed in her gilded cage.

This looks pretty great and all, but stay away from the basement...

I don't want to give to much away, but I loved this book! Rhine is a great KAH (Kick-Ass Heroine). She keeps her cool when everything's hitting the fan. She (mostly) thinks through her plots and uses deception as the strongest tool at her disposal. (I hate it when our heroines just blurt out their plans to the first person they see or ignore perfectly sound advice just to find themselves in another well-deserved pickle.)

Some YA heroines are worse than James Bond villains with all of their yappin'
Wither does have a romantic element (natch), but it not overly gushy and it grows organically and nicely.

DeStefano has written a beautifully-told, well-paced and cleverly-plotted novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The sequel to Wither, Fever, comes out February 21st and I can't wait!

Final Verdict:


  1. I loved Wither. I am planning to read it again soon and write a review. Great post.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  2. I just started Wither, I'm glad you liked it ! Maybe I should read a few more chapters tonight !



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