Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
"This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper." - T.S. Eliot
Seventy years ago, scientists discovered a way to engineer genetically perfect children, thus securing the future of the human race. While successful at first, with this new generation being nearly immortal, a virus causes the generations thereafter to die early. Women don’t live past age twenty, and the men past age twenty-five. Girls are now being kidnapped and sold to wealthy men for polygamous marriages in the hopes of breeding children and eradicating the awful virus. Sixteen year old Rhine Ellery is kidnapped and sold with two other girls, Jenna and Cecily, to Linden Ashby. Linden’s father, the manipulative Housemaster Vaughn, is somewhat of a mad scientist and is feverishly working on finding a cure for the virus. The girls come to fear him for good reason (Case in point: hoarding corpses in the basement). They live in a beautiful mansion with immense gardens, and, for the most part, the girls are treated like royalty. Upon Rhine’s arrival to the mansion, she meets a servant named Gabriel. He is quiet, docile, and very sweet. Rhine is immediately drawn to him. Rhine unexpectedly comes to care for her sister wives and surprises herself when she begins to feel compassion and affection for Linden. However, all Rhine can think about is escape and the brother she left behind.
I had been hearing quite a bit about this book, and when I first read the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if this was a book for me. Sister wives? Forced marriages? Um, no thank you? However, the book cover is stunning and as it usually does, curiosity got the best of me. I am so pleased that it did. This book is amazing and one of my favorites so far this year. Rhine is an easy heroine to love. She is strong and nothing can weaken her determination. Wither is thrilling, thought provoking, and poignant.
Lauren DeStefano has a stunning way with words, and her writing style is beautiful and dramatic. Fever, the second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, cannot come fast enough.