Friday, December 30, 2011

WITHER by Lauren DeStefano

Fact: I love this cover.
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

I’m going to keep this short and sweet (or, short, anyway), because I didn’t enjoy or like this book at all and I want to politely explain why.

Wither is full of misery. It places the heroine and everyone she cares about in a horrible world and horrible circumstances. It shows her fighting against the misery, but never quite succeeding. My friend Snazel wrote a blog post explaining that she reads books that choose to fight against despair. Wither, in my opinion, was not one of those. I admired the heroine, Rhine, for keeping her eyes on her goal regardless of what happened. I admired the three sister-wives for sometimes making small victories through their unity and strength. But I did not enjoy the book, I did not like it, and I do not read books to feel this way. I kept thinking maybe the onslaught of tragedies would stop, or pause, but every scene was just saturated with some awful truth. I will not read the rest of this trilogy, although I hope Rhine and Gabriel turn out okay. I don’t feel like I should review the writing or pacing or anything structural about this novel because even if all of that was perfect (I have no major complaints, at least, about any of those things) I would still dislike Wither.

I know that this novel works for a lot of people, and that’s great. Just please don’t hate me for my opinion and book-values because they are just as valid.


Snazel said...

I will never hate you for your book views.

Especially when they are also my views. :D

ania said...

I must absolutely read this book. Great blog:)