Morgan F's Reviews > Wither

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
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I knew something about this book before I cracked open the pages, even though I was reading an ARC. That's the kind of buzz this book has been getting. Honestly, I would have read this book for the cover alone. God, that is some gorgeous cover art. And I was prepared to hate this book. I thought it was going to be a book with a pretty cover, titillating premise (OMGzzz polygamy!), but with no substance. Overall, Wither exceed my expectations.

Let's start out with the bad things.

The world building. I am not the first person to point out how much this sucked. Dystopia's are so successful and interesting, because they set up the possibility of maybe. In a good dystopia, we are able to see some aspects of our society magnified and twisted in a way that terrifies us and makes us question the world we live in. There really is no basis for polygamy or child brides that is present in our society. I'm not going to say that it doesn't happen, because we've all seen the Lifetime specials and newsreports. But one reason why polygamy and child brides are so interesting is because, in Western Society, they are considered obsolete and taboo. I feel like the premise was just designed to intrigue readers, and if the story, with the prose and the characters, were under different circumstances, this book would have garnered five stars from me

Don't get me started on the science of this book. It is nothing but pseudo-science, and curious and careful readers will get pissed off at the impossibility of it all. Supposedly, this book takes seventy years in the future (or sixty, or something like that). Scientists have issued a "cure" for cancer to all individuals (Which is highly unlikely. Some people refuse the flu vaccine, what basis do they have to receive a barely test cure?), but with disastrous results. The first generation grew up fine and hardy, but their children, and their grandchildren, are dying off after adolescents, girls at twenty, boys at 25 from some mysterious infection. There is absolutely no basis in science for a disease that kills off people so suddenly, or so without a cause. Even for the most fatal of hereditary diseases, the victims are usually given decades of wiggle room. It just doesn't make sense, especially that women die younger than men. Statistically-speaking, men die from more diseases than women do, and generally have a lower life expectancy. Clearly everything is a plot device, which does not make for good world building.

Also supposedly, the whole word except for the smallest bit of North America has been killed off in some cataclysmic war, in the process melting all the ice caps and sinking all the continents. Yet, North America appears to be functioning just fine, albeit with better technology than nowadays........I really hope people understand how IMPOSSIBLE this is. Common sense demands it. For the sake of DeStefano's intelligence, I really hope this turns out to be a rouse. Kind of like how Linden is shielded from the world outside of his estate, I hope Rhine has been shielded from the rest of the world entirely.

And one more random nitpicky comment......why would the snatchers (is that what they are called? I forget...) wear uniforms? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to wear street clothing? That is like a serial killer walking around with a bloody knife and a t-shirt that says "I KILL YOUR CHILDREN".

Now unto the good things. Obviously, from my rating, the good things win out. If the good things weren't as good, I would have absolutely detested this book.

The prose......oh, it was lovely. Beautiful, and delicate, it grabbed me from the first page. I was expecting some serviceable, generic words-on-a-page, but instead there was just pleasantness. DeStefano has a way of making the most desperate situations hopeful, and Rhine's emotions bled off the page. I strongly recommend listening to wistful instrumental music while reading this book. It's reaaaaaally nice.

I cared for all the characters, even the ones I was initially supposed to hate. DeStefano made me feel for the characters before I even realized what she was doing. The oblivious, charming Linden, the overeager, selfish Cecily, and the exotic, melancholy Jenna......the only character I really didn't care about was Gabriel, the love interest for Rhine. He wasn't really established enough yet, something I am looking forward to in future books. He wasn't a bad character, and Rhine and he were at least friends initially, and not the "I shall die without you"-type couples that so often populate today's YA novels.

I expected to feel nothing for this book, but instead I felt my heart breaking and my lips smiling.

Yes, the book has copious faults, but please try to look past them. For me, the writing and character building triumph over the sucktastic world building. Wither is a prime example of a fine young talent trying too hard to make her book marketable.

Alas, I am eagerly waiting for the next book.
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Reading Progress

03/09/2011 page 114
32.0% "I'm really diggin' this, but the scifi is a little iffy."

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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~Tina~ Yay's!! I'm glad at least one of us liked this XD

Morgan F I read it while listening to dramatic instrumental music. I think that helped.

~Tina~ I can see that working actually.

Morgan F Hmm. My least favorite part of the book was the convoluted scientific premise. It made no sense at all. But I really did love how it was written, and I felt for all the characters. Except for the real bad guy, of course.

message 5: by Nic (new) - rated it 1 star

Nic ~Tina~ wrote: "Yay's!! I'm glad at least one of us liked this XD"

What twinie said ^^

~Tina~ This was very well written, I agree, I just couldn't get past the distrubing.
Hopefully this author will write other books, I wouldn't mind trying something else of hers:)

message 7: by Nic (new) - rated it 1 star

Nic Yeah I agree the writing was good. But for some reason the whole polygamy in a dystopia setting didn't work for me. I can read in realistic fiction but for some reason not in this kind of genre.

Morgan F I wish you guys would have stayed with it, its really not that bad. I understand that the concept enough may be enough to freak you out, but nothing is ever explicitly described. The worse thing for me about the polygamy was that a girl got married and had a baby at thirteen. Not that she wasn't happy about it. As a matter of fact, she was thrilled. I found the idea that she was practically brainwashed more disturbing than anything else.

(view spoiler)

message 9: by Nic (new) - rated it 1 star

Nic (view spoiler). I may try it again at some stage.

Morgan F (view spoiler)

*nods* I can't promise you you will like anymore than the first time, but I still hope you manage to pick it up again someday.

Arlene Why did I let this expire on me? Now I wish I read it. :/

Morgan F :(

Morgan F And its too iffy for me to recommend buying it....

People either hate it or love it, I've come to notice.

Arlene There's always the lib....

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