Recently, I've developed a bit of a crush on the dystopian genre. All the new ones coming out have been awesome, (such as Matched by Ally Condie and Delirium by Lauren Oliver) and I've found myself picking up all my old favourites (such as the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins). Even the next book on my to-be-read list is a dystopian, Divergent by Veronica Roth. And if you too haven't jumped on this genre to give it a massive loving bear hug like I have, well, why not?! The only thing is, I think Lauren DeStefano may have ruined all other dystopians for me with her brilliant debut novel, Wither.
(Look at that beautiful cover! After reading Wither I can’t wait to see the cover of Fever)
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 geniune love for her, and a tenuous trust amoung 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 she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
(Taken from Harper Collins website)
I'd heard many good things about Wither before it had even been released and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Though living in Australia meant I had to wait a little longer, definitely worth the wait!. And now that I've read it I don't think any of the reviews I've read could ever depict acurately the sheer amazingness that is this book. I don't I think I can either but I'm going to do my best.
Wither is a story set in the future in a world where through genetic alterations all the diseases we're accustomed to have been eradicated. In the wake of one generation of perfectly healthy babies came all the generations affected by a virus that causes all the men to die at the age of 25 and all the women to die at 20. Lauren DeStefano has done a beautiful job explaining the intricacies of this world she's created. Not only are we given the impression that this is a future that could actually happen we're horrified by the terrible consequences it has.
The novel is told from the perspective of 16 year old Rhine Ellery, a character I can't get enough of who is practically over-flowing with depth and life. There are many layers to Rhine and we're shown who she is when she faces the challenges of being sold into a marriage with a rich man she's never met before.
There is a full and realistic cast of characters including my favourites of Gabriel and Jenna. The interactions between these characters feels genuine and even those you don't want to you fall in love with simply for their depth.
What I loved most about this book though was Lauren DeStefano's writing style. Wither is written in beautiful prose using imagery and metaphors that bring this compelling story to life.
It's a thought provoking novel that left me longing for more. I now can't wait for the sequel Fever to come out. Waiting for it is going to feel like forever!
Miss DeStefano also tweeted this afternoon (afternoon in Australia at least!) "So there is a character, in book 3, that everyone will just adore. And if you don't, I'll bake you a muffin and serve it to you myself" I really want someone to remind me to remind her of this when book 3 comes out so if I don't actually adore this character we at least get her to come to Australia to serve me that muffin so I can meet her! Because in my opinion Lauren DeStefano is a genius and you should all go read her book!
4/5 Silver Platters!