I've been itching to read this for a while before Wither was published in the UK. But then I read some bad reviews and that made me unsure of reading it. And then Amazon had their 12 Days of Kindle Sale after Christmas and this was on it. And I got excited over it. 99p for a book that I was unsure of - BARGAIN! And then, a few weeks ago, I wanted a read something on my Kindle and I decide (because the title wouldn't leave my brain) to read Wither as I read an ARC of Garth Nix's A Confusion of Prince (which I can't review till the end of April...)
In the not so distant future, the world is a very different place. A virus (aka DNA engineering) has a horrifying effect on the young. All boys die at the age of 25 and girls die at the age of 20, and the "first generation" grow old and watch their children and grandchildren die an early death.
Rhine is sixteen. She has four years left to live. When she is kidnapped and sold into a polygamous marriage, all Rhine can think is escape. But trapped in a mansion with her bride-sisters (each with their own reasons to become a bride), a husband that is hopelessly in love with her (and yet whose feelings she can't return), the house master who seems dangerously in control of everything and a servant who she is growing attached to, Rhine is desperate to escape and return to her twin brother. But will she?
Now, I can sense some of you guys going "You haven't read this till now?" and yes, I am slow but I am quite surprised over it and am glad I didn't read it when it first came out with my high expectations as I would have been disappointed. This isn't your typical dystopian novel.
Whereas most dystopia is fast pace and has everything thrown at you (including the kitchen sink), Wither is different. It's slower in pace and takes its time over characters, atmosphere and the world we have found ourselves in. And while I know some of you guys are going "But Rhine takes A YEAR to plot her escape!", it doesn't feel like that as the use of language in the story sweeps you along. It's a bit like The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey as both authors have a way with words that, while the story is slow and takes its time, you get taken with it and you don't question it.
It's an interesting view of control and victims. And I liked how, we're in this beautiful mansion, we discover it through Rhine's eyes and over the course of the book, how it's a prison and there's not a single bar in sight.
Now, as most of you are aware, this book tackles polygamist marriage, and while I felt the Virus was explained, this I didn't understand. I didn't get why this happened and it wasn't explained. If it was, I completely missed it.
Now, I quite like Wither and am intrigued over where Lauren DeStefano takes Rhine in Fever as I have read some of my Book Blogger pals reading this and going "Well, this is unexpected!". Am also intrigued over the short story prequel, The Seeds of Wither, as it tells more about the first wife, Rose. She was a character I wished I knew more. PLEASE HARPER COLLINS!