Wither is such a unique book, with a terrifying concept that pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go. The writing really blew me away! It was so elegant and descriptive. It set the tone for the whole book, which itself was very elegant and creepy at the same time.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?
All the characters were wonderful and real. I felt like I grew with Rhine to love the sister wives and Linden. They each seem to be much more than what they reveal on their outer shell. And of course, Vaughn was creepy!
Rhine’s character development was evident throughout the story. She starts out unsure, but ever determined to leave the life that she didn’t choose. She’s a strong young woman who won’t let anything get in her way. I really admired that about her. Honestly if I was stuck in her situation, I wouldn’t have fought the way she had.
I loved the setting of the mansion. It felt very classic. And the sprawling gardens just sounded gorgeous! I wish I could visit the mansion (although I have a feeling Vaughn wouldn’t want me to leave…)
And I loved all the gorgeous outfits that Rhine wore. They sounded as if they’d been plucked out of a project runway fairy tale! I found it rather unconvincing that an 8 year old could’ve made them, but I guess in that world, Diedre would want to learn as much as possible in her short life.
The world building was…interesting. I think the idea that the whole population is dying out from an incurable disease is definitely creative, but I just wish the rest of the pieces to the puzzle fit together as well. While many girls are being sold into polygamous marriages and prostitution, many other girls who are kidnapped are simply killed. Why? Why not just let them run off, and never bother with them again? If the population is dying out, don’t get rid of those who are able to produce perfectly healthy offspring? That much just didn’t make sense to me.
And I really don’t understand why America is the only continent left. I thought it was China with the most advanced technology. I can see how having America be the only place left can simplify things for the author. Now she doesn’t have to explain why the whole world is dying out, because there are many places that could never afford that kind of technology. And that brings me to my next question.
How is it that everyone could afford to have this treatment to prevent all disease? There is so much poverty, and not even that high a risk of getting any deadly disease, so I don’t understand how or why everyone in America could get the treatment. The only explanation I can come up with is that the government required everyone to get it, and provided it free of charge, but that doesn’t make much sense either.
Of course you can tell from the synopsis that this book isn't squeaky clean. I went into it expecting there to be tons of stuff that would make me uncomfortable, but I was happily surprised to see that there wasn't much of it. Rhine decides not to give into her husbands wishes, so there's never anything happening but every once in a while it's discussed among the sister wives.
(There's also a very graphic birth scene, but that didn't bother me because of my mother's obsession with watching TV shows about babies (Yep! She's a weirdo!)
I went into it already knowing some key plot points (Cecily’s pregnancy, Running away with Gabriel), so that may have affected my experience a bit, but all in all it was a wonderful story. I can’t wait to get my hands on Fever!
Part of the Catch Wither Fever Read-A-Long!