Book Review:: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

8 Apr

Haunting and beautiful, Wither (Simon & Schuster) by debut author Lauren DeStefano is my first jaunt into dystopian young adult fiction.  DeStefano’s futuristic world is both terrifying and fascinating—all the continents save North America have been destroyed by war, famine, chemical warfare and civil law rules the streets, despite the medical progress that has eradicated cancer and many other horrible medical conditions. While the beneficiaries of these advances live to a ripe old age, their children die in their 20’s from a horrible unknown ailment.  Geneticists are struggling to find the cure as females die at age 20 and males at age 25.

It is in this world that we meet sixteen year-old Rhine Ellery, who is snatched by the Gatherers and sold as an unwilling bride along with two others to the rich young Linden Ashby.  Rhine and her sister wives are captives in an elaborate mansion and expected to procreate, party, and distract young and naïve Governor Linden while his father, Housemaster Vaughn, conducts creepy medical experiments to find a cure to the disease that will claim his own son’s life in four year’s time.  It is also a race against the clock for Rhine, who is trying in vain to escape this nightmare, to make her way back to her home and twin brother in New York City.

The book is full of interesting characters including Rhine’s sister wives—Rose who is already dying from the disease when Rhine and the others arrive at the Ashby mansion, seventeen year-old Jenna, and young Cecily, a mere 13 year-old.  The dynamics between the sister wives and their husband are endearing, infuriating, and often touching.  Jenna is wise and cool while Cecily is young and impudent.  Rhine is the “kind one” whose survives by remembering her home and keeping herself emotionally and sexually from Linden, who is kind to his wives and blind to his father’s controlling evil.

Wither is a fascinating account of what the future could look like.  Thousands of women and children (orphans) being sold by human traffickers each year right now, so it is not far-fetched to believe the same thing would happen in a collapse of our modern American society.  This is what makes Wither so eerie; it’s not an impossible future.

Amy’s Score: 4.5/5

Read the first chapter of Wither.

I received this book from Christi the Teen Librarian as part of the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop.  Thank you, Christi, for the amazing read!

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No Responses to “Book Review:: Wither by Lauren DeStefano”

  1. Hira Hasnain April 8, 2011 at 8:05 PM #

    Excellent review, darling!!! I love it – I just finished Wither as well, and am supposed to do a review soon. I just haven’t, with family visiting from up north! You have captured the essence of the book…well done! 😀

  2. thereadingdate April 9, 2011 at 12:28 AM #

    Nice choice for a first dystopian book! I’ve found dystopian books are very addictive. I totally agree that part of what makes it uncomfortable to read is the thought that this is a possible future. So curious to find out what happens in the sequel!

  3. Carol April 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM #

    I think this one’s going on my to-read list. It seems unique.

  4. Amy April 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM #

    Hira, thank you! I can’t wait to see your review of WITHER.

    ReadingDate, what other recommendations do you have in this genre? I’m interested!

    Carol, it really is unique, though I haven’t read much dystopian literature. I heard some criticism about Rhine’s conflicting emotions, but she’s not an adult, despite what society has made her become. She is only 16.

  5. Sidne April 13, 2011 at 12:04 PM #

    sounds like a unique read. i have not chosen the dystopia read yet. this would classify as one correct?

  6. thereadingdate April 13, 2011 at 4:41 PM #

    There are so many dystopian books out right now. Some of my favorites are: The Hunger Games trilogy, Delirium, Unwind, Birth Marked, XVI, The Unidentified. You may also try Matched or Inside Out. Some classics of the genre are The Giver, The Handmaids Tale, 1984. There’s lots more info on Goodreads. Hope you find some books to your liking.

  7. Karen Xiong May 15, 2011 at 11:53 AM #

    there has been so many books that i had read and this one is one of the best……the first book that i ever read was ” the mortal instruments” it was one of my favorite ones…than comes ” Wither” as my second one….hahahaha there are so many of them that i like but i don’t remember them all

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