“Fate, I think, is a thief.”

I have, yet again, finished reading another post apocalyptic YA novel. I was planning on taking a longer break from this theme in the genre, but I couldn’t help myself. I took a short break to read a couple of very bad YA books, but I really wanted to sink my teeth into Wither by Lauren DiStefano. I have been hearing all about this one all over the internet, and I have seen it in so many book stores that I had been dying to read it.

Also, take a look at the cover:

Seriously. Doesn’t the cover make you want to read the book? Doesn’t it make you intrigued? For me, it definitely had a deciding factor on me reading it. I need to be drawn in to read a book. It could be a good review, it could be a bad review (could it really be THAT bad?), it could be the synopsis, it could be the cover. Something has to draw me in.

For Wither it was all four of those that made me need to read it. Here is the overview of the book from Amazon.com:

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking 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 kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. 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 is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?

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?

Anyone else more than intrigued with this? Exactly.

So I had very high expectations of this novel as I started to read. A world where girls can no longer live longer than 20, boys no more than 25? What were you doing when you were that age? Imagine you didn’t live past your birthday at either 20 or 25 years old? The idea kind of haunts me when you think about it. I was hoping that this idea of mine would in some way give me a connection to the novel. I kind of found that there was no connection.

The book was anything but bad. If found it to be well written, a great concept, a very strong heroine (more on Rhine in a moment), but I felt no connection to the book once I put it down. It didn’t move me the way The Hunger Games or Unborn did. This novel just didn’t really get to me. It’s weird to enjoy a book, but be indifferent to your connection with it once finished. At least for me this is weird. I usually can feel something, good or bad. Right now. Nothing. It’s so bizarre.

I did, however, enjoy the character of Rhine. She is a strong heroine, who doesent get lost in the world she was thrown into. She has been separated from her brother and she is determined to go back to him. She does whatever it takes to get there, she lies, she plans, and (SPOILER ALERT) she manages to escape and start her adventure home. Rhine is “innocent” (in all sense of the word), and somehow throughout the books she manages to maintain this even with everything that is thrown at her. I find that endearing. She is strong, yet has such a fragile side to her. There are moments when she does something and then you remember that she is just a kid. You get so lost and caught up in her world that you forget this very basic fact. She is sixteen. DiStefano has a very strong character here, a true heroine.

The book endsnotes note where Rhinemanages to get free, but I wouldn’t not read this book because you know how it ends now. This book ends and the second one in the trilogy, Fever,  takes up right where this one leaves off and is pretty much in a go-go-go mode. I have read the second one as well and will review that shortly.

DiStefano writes this novel in such a way that you forget that these girls are so young. Rhine is only sixteen, and yet I feel for her as if she is an adult. Linden is only twenty. these people, are, in sense still “babies”‘ and yet I felt as if they were older. I got caught up in a world where the children are no longer such, and ageism is no longer an issue. It was an odd feeling once I finished the first book and thought about it deeper. Those girls are sold, kidnapped or forced into ” arranged marriages ” and then they fall into these bizarre polygamous nuns and They end up with sister wives. And none of these girls seem to think its odd, so you stop thinking its odd. Just a weird feeling.

The only negative aspect of this novel for me was the notion that the entire world has succumb to this odd fate that it is underwater water. Hmm. Apparently North Amerwas missed out on that one, and it’s  managed to stay afloat. Um, anyone else feel that science could disprove this? Not as if YA fiction should be based on fact, but I feel as if the earth would spin out of control of something… How did all of the world as we know it tofalls ink, and not North America?? Anyways, that is just my internal rambling going on.

I would definitely recommend this book, it gets a 3.5 out of 5 on my WGAH meter for sure. If it wasn’t for the sinking continents and my lack of connection, it would have been a four. At least. Maybe more. It’s an easy read, but well worth it, however my feelings were.

Anyone out there read this book and loved it? Loathed it perhaps? Let’s discuss!!


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