Saturday, April 02, 2011

Wither (YA)

Wither. Laura DeStefano. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 368 pages.

I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying. I know when one of the girls reaches a wall. She begins to pound and scream--there's metal in the sound--but none of us help her. We've gone too long without speaking, and all we do is bury ourselves more into the dark. The doors open. The light is frightening. It's the light of the world through the birth canal, and at once the blinding tunnel that comes with death. I recoil into the blankets with the other girls in horror, not wanting to begin or end.

Did I like Wither? Yes! I really LOVED it! One of the best 2011 books that I've read so far. Rhine Ellery knows almost exactly when she'll die--and why she'll die. Mad scientists, so called geniuses, from previous generations have manipulated human genes too much. Having created the "oh-so-perfect" generation of children, they've cursed the human race. Every woman dies from a deadly virus at age 20. Every man dies from that virus at age 25.Will there be a cure found in Rhine's lifetime? Maybe, maybe not. She's just sixteen. But she's not that hopeful. Rhine knows one thing for sure. She does NOT want to spend her remaining years in a forced marriage with two other sister wives. Even if her husband, Linden, is ignorant of how his three wives really came to be his. Even if he doesn't know the truth about his father's schemes and manipulations. No, Rhine wants to be free, needs to be free. She wants to find her twin brother, Rowan, and live the rest of her days free. But will she find a way to escape?

I enjoyed Wither! I enjoyed spending time with Rhine and her sister wives, Cecily, the youngest, Jenna, the oldest. I also enjoyed spending time with Gabriel, one of the servants who works at the estate. Their developing friendship adds a great deal of excitement to the novel! I didn't hate Linden. While Rhine may not have fallen for him, may not have found that lifestyle tolerable under any circumstances, I can't help pitying him.

Overall, I found the novel fascinating and compelling. The world Lauren DeStefano created was haunting and horrible and so wonderfully developed. I'd definitely recommend this one.

She wanders down one of the aisles, and I follow her as she runs her finger along the spines of books, taps one of them, eases it out of its place. The book is dusty, the cover eaten away, the pages yellow and brittle as she flips through them. All of these books are from the twenty-first century or earlier, which isn't very strange. The television also airs old movies, and most shows are set in the past. It has become a form of escapism to visit a world in which people live a long time. What was once real and natural has become a fantasy. "There are lots of love stories here," she says. "They either end happily, or everyone dies." She laughs, but it sounds more like a sob. "What else is there, right?" (86)

A few minutes later we're huddled under a blanket on a couch in the sitting room, sharing a gallon of vanilla ice cream she ordered from the kitchen, and we're watching an early-morning rerun of yesterday's soap opera. Along with the romance novels, these are another of her guilty pleasures. The actors are all teenagers made up to look much older. Jenna tells me they're constantly changing the actors, since of course the show has been on for more than a decade and the original actors have died by now. The only consistent actors are first generations. And as she's explaining to me who's in a coma and who unknowingly married an evil twin, both of us bathed in the television's glow, I do start to relax a little. (243)
You might also be interested in reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Amanda said...

Too funny! I just posted a pile of to-read that included Divergent, Delirium AND Wither. I loved Hunger Games and heard Maze Runner is awesome. Glad to hear this one is as well! Can't wait to read it now!

Liviania said...

I pitied Linden too.

Heather said...

I loved this one too! Definitely one of the best dytopian ya books I've read since Hunger Games.

Sorilla said...

...last drop...this was...for me to download the book to my iPad! I got "Wither" finally, good its raining outside, gtg ;).
Thanks for your review, as always,

kimberly said...

Thanks for the review! I really enjoyed Hunger Games, Delirium, and Across the Universe - this sounds perfect for me!

Kate {The Parchment Girl} said...

I'm not much for dystopian or YA fiction, but after enjoying The Hunger Games, I think I might just give this one a try too... Great review!