Krystle's Reviews > Wither

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
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Aug 01, 2010

liked it
Read from June 06 to 11, 2011

I’ve never read such science fail in a book, ever. You know, the first thing before you write your book is to do a lot of research on the area/subject you’re writing on and to make sure that all the rules and conventions of the world you set up are logical and plausible. This is given a lot more leeway if the story is set in an alternate world (ie: fantasy) but since this is not and based after a post-apocalyptic/dystopian reality of our own world, everything falls apart.

First of all, if the icecaps melted, the world would be in some serious shit. The sea levels would rise dramatically (I don’t know the exact measurements because I hate math but I know it’s a lot) so Florida and large parts of New York would not still exist! They would be underwater! Second of all, the icecaps make up a large percentage of the Earth’s albedo (ratio of radiation reflected back out to space that comes in) and with one of the major sources of reflection gone you can bet that’s going to have an effect on things. Maybe not so much as temperature is concerned (although this is quite possible) but I’m positive there will be higher instances of skin cancer and what not from the radiation.

Next, the disease fail. I have never heard of an age-specific disease/virus/whatever that wipes out people so thoroughly. Sure there are hereditary and other diseases that arise from mutations or accident in the DNA code in which they say people who have it are predisposed to die by a certain age but there is a gradual and obvious increase of someone’s ill health before it happens. And it’s not even absolute, because there are such things as miracles, or cures that enable the person to live longer or be entirely cured of it. I don’t see how the disease in this book works, where a person who is healthy for practically all of their life and as soon as they turn twenty become deathly sick. It just doesn’t happen that way.

What is this disease supposed to be exactly? All I got is them coughing up blood and stuff. What is it, some hyper version of tuberculosis? It’s never really explained and that drives me crazy. I like things to be specific you know.

I have no idea how they got everyone in the world to be genetically modified to be perfect. That’s like… impossible. There would be major opposition to that and that sounds majorly expensive. But whatever.

If, you know, the population is in danger of dying out why would men and women be interested in getting married and having kids? Copious amounts of sex I could understand because, well, you’re gonna die anyway so what the heck, right? And why are they killing off the unwanted “ugly” ones if everyone’s dying off? Isn’t it a pretty critical time where you can’t afford to be picky? WHAT?

Okay… enough of the world building shizz, what about the plot and characters? Man, when your whole book takes place in a HOUSE for the entire duration of the novel and all it revolves around is bitching about how shitty your life is and how you’re so getting out is very, very boring. Like the only action comes from teenage drama between the girls, her random, pathetic attempts to escape, and her going out to these parties. Not a lot of riveting stuff there.

I know some people might love the darker aspects of the novel (polygamy, teenage pregnancy, etc) but I could really care less. I have no sympathy the guy who is nothing more than a spineless puppet who doesn’t have the balls to sleep with Rhine because she reminds him of his true love that died and would rather screw the thirteen-year-old who’s more than willing.

Rhine is so irritating sometimes at how she whines about how sucky her life is in her position when the other wife (the young one) has to put up with being pregnant while she gets to lay back and angst more. And she gets to have the luxury of leaving the house, eating all kinds of fancy foods, and even being pampered with candies! What the heck is she complaining about? Bah!

The concept of this novel is so very good, it’s very striking and bleak, but it just fails under even light inspection. The major props for this story would probably be the quality of the writing. Some of it is very beautiful and poignant while other times it meanders and tries too hard to be significant.

I thought the relationships between the girls were done moderately well because I actually felt a twinge of sympathy/sadness when one of the character’s died. It’s very clear how much they cared for each other and even though they might not get along all the time, it shows that they’re willing to fight things together.

The romance. Blah. I wasn’t a fan of it. Especially with a very lukewarm and tepid male as the love interest. At least he wasn’t offensive, which I guess is a big plus? I hope this doesn’t turn into some love triangle with her husband and the guy she falls in love with. That would be… a very boring and tension lacking page filler.

Whoever did the cover and layout for this book is a GENIUS. It is gorgeous. Plus the sometimes good writing make this a not so terrible disappointment but, really, if only the world building wasn’t so much of an epic fail. I’ve heard it’s very The Handmaiden’s Tale, so I should get on reading that. If you aren’t one of those who pay attention that much to a book’s world building and focus mainly on the characters you might enjoy this a lot more than I did. Oh and if you just love dystopian novels. You’d prolly lap this right up.

Edit: Oh! I forgot to mention the whole, America is the only place left because we have all the technology in the world. WHAT? That is so... egotistical. Oh, yeah, America is the only one that survived and the other didn't. I hope the author is gonna do some major backtracking and do a "PSYCHE! I was joking with you!" and it's only because they teach/believe that America is the only country left standing.

And America with the best technology? Are you serious? You know where we get most of our fancy gadgets and things from? ASIA. That's right. Best place in the world my ass.
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Reading Progress

06/06/2011 page 31
9.0% "Coughing up blood? What? Are they all dying of tuberculosis?"
06/06/2011 page 55
15.0% "Oh, yes. How convenient. After a third world war, NORTH AMERICA is the only place left standing. Uh huh, sure. We are such an ego-centric nation. Lmao. And America has the best technology in the world? WHAT? I beg to differ. America might be good at their military and computer creations but it's usually the Asians that create the newest in technological gadgets. I am not impressed." 1 comment
06/07/2011 page 160
45.0% "Ladidoo." 3 comments
06/10/2011 page 225
63.0% "This is kinda boring since nothing's really happening yet." 2 comments
06/11/2011 page 358
100.0% "2.5 stars."
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Crystal Starr Light I just love your review, specifically how you picked out the scientific fallacies! I'm kinda that way myself: if the science doesn't sell me, I'm more likely to dislike the book (or at least, pick at it).

Linda LOL totally agree with you about the COMPLETE SCIENCE FAIL and the lame romance. And yet somehow I still gave this one three stars. There must have been something I liked but I can't really remember what it is now XD

Krystle Linda wrote: "LOL totally agree with you about the COMPLETE SCIENCE FAIL and the lame romance. And yet somehow I still gave this one three stars. There must have been something I liked but I can't really remembe..."

Maybe you liked the writing? It was quite pretty in areas.

Linda Hmm, I don't really remember what the writing was like. I looked at some of the other reviews and it was probably her relationship with the sister-wives and her own mixed feelings and Linden's grayness. I didn't like either Linden or Gabriel much, but at least Linden was interesting, which is more than I can say for Gabriel. :P

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