Goodreads Synopsis: 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?
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This was a reread, since I had read the book many years ago online, and I wanted to get an actual copy of it this time.
Wither is an interesting story, the writing for the book is absolutely beautiful. The descriptions make every very vivid, and you can see everything that’s happening clearly. I really liked that, I like it when the prose makes up a big part of the book. Wither is set in a dystopian world, and the writing helps build that in an interesting way. DeStephano gives us enough information about this genetic plague for it to be plausible, but never gives us all the details on how it works.
The story builds slowly, but not too slowly. Which I appreciated. It gave me time to connect with the characters, and with the story in general. Although at times the story became borderline angsty, I was never bothered by that too much.
The characters themselves were honestly my least favorite part. Rhine is set on leaving, but never has to struggle with leaving anyone or anything behind. Is it bad I wanted her to go through a little Stockholm syndrome? Besides that I felt like she had a strong character, and I appreciated that. The other girls had their unique characters, I wanted to see Rhine getting to know them more, but she never did. Gabriel, the romantic interest, was the most boring. His character was flat as a pancake, and I never could tell exactly why she loved him. I think the romantic subplot was completely unnecessary. Linden, Rhine’s ”husband” was creepy, but also pathetic. You have some of the same feelings for him, as you would for say Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.
I felt like the end of the story was a little too easy for Rhine. I started to get bored 3/4ths of the way through the story, and that’s the main reason my rating is low. I felt like I should have been more engaged at the climax of the story, but I just wasn’t.
In the end I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.