AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
PUBLICATION DATE: March 22nd 2011
At age 16, Rhine Ellery has four years to live. Thanks to a botched effort to create a perfect race, all females live to age 20 and males live to age 25. On the cusp of her 17th birthday, Rhine attempts to flee, but what she finds is a society spiraling out of control.
I don't know if it's the fact that I read Wither just after I finished Matched (which I disliked, to put it mildly), but the book impressed me. I've seen some mixed reviews and I was afraid that the book won't live up to its hype, but I was proved wrong.
Another stunning cover and also one of my favorite. The girl looks ethereal and a bit out of this world, which fits the story perfectly.
PlotImagine a row of beautiful porcelain dolls on a shelf. They're all dressed in expensive, frilly dresses, their hair is draped in fancy curls. But after some closer inspection you discover that all of the dolls are broken, shattered, destroyed and only their clothes keep them from falling apart. It's a world where everything looks pretty behind the glass.
And this exactly is the world presented in Wither - pretty on the outside, rotting inside. It's a world where repulsive things pass as normal. I found it fascinating and disgusting, but that's what kept me turning the pages.
CharactersAfter meek and bland characters I met in a few dystopian novels, characters in Wither felt really refreshing. I really liked Rhine and her act, Jenny and Cecily. The fact that the plot was driven by those three female characters was also a novelty - majority of YA novels stick to he+she+sidekicks formula. After reading Wither I could tell how much I grew tired of it, and how much I liked the female characters being the most important part of the story.
Every girl was a different personality, background and behavior and that's what I loved. The story wasn't focused on the romance between Rhine and Gabriel at all and yet there wasn't any insta-love.
Of course there was also a villain - I still can't decide who I hated more - Vaughn or Linden. I think that excusing Linden for his actions just because he was living some kind of fairy tale is absolutely unforgivable. Especially after what he did to Cecily. Just... no.
On a side note, I also liked the character that never once made an actual appearance in the book - Rowan, Rhine's twin. He only appeared in Rhine's memories, but he was a full-fledged and well-rounded character.
WritingRhine's first person point of view. I found her POV engaging, and there were some nice quotes, for example:
"I always knew I was an excellent liar; I just didn’t know I had it in me to fool myself."
Although I've seen a lot of complaints that the story lacks depth, it didn't feel like that to me. I admit that I felt the story lacking a bit in emotional department (that's why the rating is a bit lower), but it was a part of the act of the main character.
4 stars out of 5.