I was a bit reluctant to pick up Wither by Lauren DeStefano, but the read proved to be pretty gripping. And I finished it, which hasn't been happening a whole lot this year. It seems that my method of book reading approach has been boiled down to this - throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. Meaning, if I get out of the first chapter I'm pretty good. I've pretty much been Goldilocking my way through books for the past six months or more.
That said, I finished Wither. And I really liked it, which proves something. The premise is pretty interesting. Rhine lives in a not-too-distant future where Males only survive to their 25th year, and Females live to be 20. This changes the dynamics of puberty and marriage, which quickly blur to be one in the same. At 16 Rhine is captured and sold into marriage with a 21-year-old man named Linden, who also marries two other women in tandem, Jenna and Cecily. The three brides find themself in the lap of luxury in a sprawling mansion in Florida filled with every comfort, holographic fantasies, and each other but one thing is missing - freedom.
Rhine longs for her home in Manhattan, her twin brother Rowan, and her former life. The life she has is soft and blissful, but not one she knows. Even when Linden proves to be a good husband Rhine chafes at the artifice. She wants the facade to be over, especially considering Linden's father, Vaughn. Vaughn is trying to find a cure for the virus that humanity suffers. His generation is fine, genetically altered for perfection and immortality, but his generation's children, and their children's children, continue to wither and die young... And he is willing to do whatever is necessary to prolong their deaths, no matter the consequences.
I found this book hard to read, but not for a typical reason - I don't do well with captive stories. Never have, never will. That said I found myself riveted through large chunks of the book until something overwhelmed me and I had to put it down for a bit. It's a very startling book. Because of the nature of polygamist marriages there are some rather ugly things that occur in this book. The three brides take on various aspects of a married woman. It's in their interactions together accepting things as they are that this book becomes harsh and difficult. This book takes everything that is warped about polygamy and nothing that is good about polyamory.
However, it is fascinating. And a thrilling good read. I enjoyed watching the three wives assert themselves in the household and with Linden. I'm sort of torn about the sequel, it's going to be a very different book from this one. Still, I will be reading it.
5 out of 5 stars. I'm surprised how much I liked this.
- review courtesy of www.bibliopunkkreads.com