What if you knew exactly when you would die?The moment I saw Wither’s beautiful cover and read its intriguing summary, I knew I had to get my hands on this book, so I was thrilled when an ARC arrived at my doorstep in December from Shelf Awareness.
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 limited time she has left.
Even though I barely put down Wither as I was reading it, I wouldn’t exactly say that the plot of this novel is fast-paced. However, between the world-building and DeStefano’s writing, every page is filled with intrigue and emotion. Wither is not only one of the best dystopian books out there, but is also one of the most beautifully written. Beauty and horror are perfectly juxtaposed on every page of this novel, leaving the reader in awe of Linden’s mansion and terrified by the secrets it holds. This combination kept me up at night turning the pages, and I wasn’t happy to put Wither down until I had learned everything I could about the world DeStefano has created.
When it comes to characterization, DeStefano is brilliant. I loved Rhine’s strength, dedication and insatiable curiosity. Several other characters, such as Linden and Cecily, appeared completely black and white at first, but quickly proved to be much more layered and complex. I liked Gabriel, but I also wanted to see more of him in the story, and can’t wait to see where his character goes in future installments of the story.
Wither has gotten a lot of rave reviews from bloggers, and it deserves every single one of them. This book absorbed me, yet still left me with so many questions, wanting to know more about this world. Whatever the sequel to this book is called, whenever it comes out, I will be purchasing a copy the day it becomes available. This dystopian debut is a must read.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Shelf Awareness. Thanks!