Wither by Lauren DeStefeno

22 Mar

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Released: March22, 2010
Genre: YA dystopia
For review from  publisher.

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?

From Simon and Schuster Canada website.


Sigh. Can I just say “Go buy this book now because it’s awesome” and leave it at that? Really. Because Wither was the perfect balance of all things dystopia: despair, mystery, hopefulness and romance. And it made this book geek very, very happy.

The story pretty much caught my attention from the get go. Before I read Wither I heard it describe as The Handmaid’s Tale for teen and I can totally see the comparisons. But for me this book was definitely in no way a rip off or copy. It was wonderful and unique and I loved it for what it was: a damn good YA dystopia.

I think one of the things I enjoyed the most was watching the relationship between Rhine and her sister wives develop. They were all very different and had different takes on being married to Linden and it was interesting to see them interact with one another and develop a relationship. It was far from the perfect situation for any of them, but they each did their best to not only survive, but to make the situation the best that they could.

Another aspect that I thought was BRILLIANT (yes it warrants the caps, IMO) was that despite the fact that Rhine is such a strong character and from the get-go she is Hell bent to escape, the more she gets to know her husband and the longer she’s in the marriage, the more she starts to have moments of “Hey, this isn’t so bad”. In other dystopias I’ve read the heroine is either content and slowly starts to realize things aren’t what they seem, or she fights against the Big Bosses and the way things are from the beginning. It was very nice to have a heroine that was pretty sure she wanted to escape, but had moments of doubt.

This was definitely a character driven dystopia and wasn’t filled with constant action and danger. It was a quiet book, which was perfect for the plot and the characters. Wither is the first in DeStefano’s The Chemical Garden Trilogy and I so can’t wait for the next book to come out.

Take a peek inside Wither and see how awesome it is.


One Response to “Wither by Lauren DeStefeno”

  1. amymckie March 23, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Glad to see you liked this so much. I’ve heard a lot about it, but am still unsure. Sorry 😉

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