Monday, January 3, 2011
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22 2011
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.
This story is interesting. Creepy, freaky, and waaaaay interesting.
It's one of the most inventive worlds I've seen, and one of the best well crafted. I've seen a lot of people comparing this to The Handmaid's Tale (which, admittable enough, I haven't read -- it was in my Christmas pile, though, so it's coming) but honestly, I think that there was enough variety that it keeps the story fresh. The tiny details are everywhere; the similarities to the modern day is eerie. Every once in a while it seemed as if maybe the story was a tad predictable, but there were enough loops and turns that it keeps the pages turning. I picked the book up, was forced to go do stuff, and had to keep myself from sneaking it underneath the table at lunch. (These are the kind of books that got me a B in math. Gah.)
The story is part of a trilogy but stands on its own. And dude, that is enough to gain it serious points. Wither tells a complete story, but it is obviously part of a larger picture. The suspense and confusion builds through the entire story, and is barely brushed by the end; it's enough to make the reader want more. I did have a slight issue with how easily some of the end problems seemed resolved, but I'm banking on the fact that this will be addressed later.
The characters, however, are what make this book shine. You hate them. You love them. You admire them, you cry for them, you want to smack them. Seriously. They are real people. Not a single one is simple, and it makes this book incredibly interesting. The main character, Rhine, is incredibly complex -- she's an orphan who has been living a kind of miserable existence, but when dropped in a world of luxury, she is still horrified. And it makes sense. You even feel something for her captors -- it's confusing and odd, but so real that it's almost kinda freaky. Even Rhine's brother, who isn't a predominant character in much of the story, is someone that you grow to care about, just because Rhine herself loves him so much.
The story is great debut. It's beautifully written (and oddly enough, just kind of beautiful; seriously, the detailing inside the book is great) and I'll most definitely be picking up the sequel. Props to Ms. DeStefano for keeping me totally enthralled.
More later, guys. I hope you're all still whole and healthy after New Years. (And if not, well, I'm sure it was worth it. :P )