I think I was one of the people who weren’t a little apprehensive to read Wither. Not only am I drawn to dystopian storylines, but a dystopian series involving polygamy? I was like “Ooh yay, it’s like Big Love but in book form and with a twist!” Boy, was I surprised to find that it was even better than I thought!
In this hauntingly beautiful debut novel, DeStefano has created a deeply disturbing, futuristic world where modern science has found a way to cure all diseases, but not without a price. Females now only live to the young age of twenty, while males live to twenty-five. Therefore, young women are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages in order to procreate.
The protagonist is sixteen year old Rhine. She’s smart, strong and courageous, and very easily relatable. Right from the beginning, she’s thrust into a horrifying situation, but determined as she is, she’s always planning a way to escape her captors. Along with her, are two girls who soon become her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her unlikely friendship with both girls and grew to love them, though Cecily’s bratty behavior had a tendency to annoy me.
On to the men! Some may find the girls’ husband, Linden, creepy, but that was not the case for me. Though his relationship with the youngest sister wife, Cecily, disgusted me, I felt bad for Linden. He may seem like the bad guy, but really, he knows nothing of how his brides were acquired and wouldn’t dare to question his father’s motives. He’s vulnerable, naïve and affectionate and I desperately wanted Rhine to come to love him. Now, I didn’t fall for Gabriel, Rhine’s love interest. I enjoyed their friendship, but I couldn’t see any spark in their romantic relationship. In case it wasn’t already implied, I am firmly Team Linden so I am hoping Rhine’s romance with Gabriel is short-lived.
At first, you are fooled by the luxurious life the girls now live. But soon, the dreadful occurrences ensue and you are utterly freaked out and scared for what will happen to these characters you are now deeply attached to.
My only qualm is how neither of the girls told Linden that they were kidnapped. I feel he would’ve had sympathy for them, since he himself is practically prisoner to his father. But besides that one little detail, this story was perfection to a T.
This novel will simply make your mind and heart race with all of its strong emotions. Wither far surpassed my expectations and kept me engaged until the very end. With a satisfying conclusion, I’m curious to see where DeStefano will take the story in the next installment, Fever. If polygamous relationships aren’t your cup of tea, I’d still suggest you give this beautiful novel a try anyway. You might surprise yourself with a new favorite....more