Sabrina 's Reviews > Wither

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
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Feb 14, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, dystopian, romance

Wow. This book was ... wow.

I know right!

Words cannot even describe how much I loved this book. It seriously has earned the spot on my favourites shelf and, if I dare say, might actually be as good as Divergent and Delirium (to me, at least).

Wither was a rollercoaster of emotions. One second, I'm like

and then I turn the page and that smile becomes

I loved it and then I hated it and that confliction made me love this book even more. Because I think that was the point, to make the reader really think about what is the 'right' thing to do and then realize, sometimes, there is no 'right' or 'wrong', just different paths that lead to different crossroads .... Or I'm overthinking this and the real message is DO NOT GO TO STRANGE JOB OPENINGS WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE BECAUSE YOU WILL BE KIDNAPPED Yes, that makes much more sense.

Moving on ... here's my review (sorry in advance for how terrible it will be since I have no idea how to write a good review to meet the awesomness of this book)

I feel it necessary to first write about the characters rather than the plot. Why? Because if the main character does so much as irrate me, I will automatically hate the book. But notice the 5 stars? Let's interpolate shall we? 5 stars = I loved the characters.

Why? Simply because I find them to be real. Yes, I know we do not all die at the completely old age of 20-25 but by real, I mean the characters felt as if they weren't fictional characters from the imagination of the author but true-to-life people. The author was able to perfectly write each character, even the minor ones, as if they were each a real life human being. This is incredibly difficult, I have read countless books and only a number are able to achieve this.

Plus, I could connect to the characters. The main character, Rhine, was not some one-dimensional girl or a complete robot. I hate female characters in dystopian novels that only think one thing: I must get out of this place. I mean, c'mon, do you ever think of ANYTHING else? Anything? This is not the case for Rhine. She has troubles coming to a desision (like moi) and although she immediately wants to leave the mansion, she becomes conflicted.

Many are saying that this is the flaw in the book. That Rhine talked a lot about wanting to run away and wanting to be free but never doing anything until the end of the novel. I thought that was the beauty of the novel. I hate it when books go too fast and again, when the character cannot think of anything except escape. In my opinion, Rhine's inner conflict was realistic and portrayed nicely.

Think about it. Sure, you were kidnapped and taken from your brother and forced into becoming a sister wife. You have every right to be pissed off and wanting to go home RIGHT NOW! And that is how Rhine felt initially. Key word is initially. As she stayed in the mansion, she grew to sympathize her captor and even enjoy some of the high life. Before you judge, put yourself in her shoes. She is 16 so she only has 4 years left to live. I don't know about you, but if I got only 4 more years left, I am sure as hell not going to waste them. And she is living in a freaking mansion! With a state-of-the-art pool, awesome food, a library and all these pretty (and expensive) dresses.

Yeah ... I know where I would want to stay. The rich life does seem like the good life, so it makes sense for Rhine to struggle between which life she wants to lead. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I feel that in terms of the pace of the story, it was flawless.

Back track to the characters. Rhine is a great developed character but she's not my favourite.

I loved Gabriel. He was the assistant/servant/helper guy at the mansion where Rhine was kidnapped. And he was probably the sweetest thing there is. He loves her. It is as simple as that. But Rhine is his master's wife (or at least, one of his wives). This makes her off limits. But that can't stop him from loving this girl who seems like the only thing real in the house. Gabriel is a great character because his love for Rhine is a progression. He didn't just see her and instantly go mushy. He was like a knight in shining armor for Rhine (and me). He didn't believe in what his master was doing and rebelled in his own cute way.

"I realize all at once that I want to know him. That I've begun to see his blue eyes and coppery brown hair as the signs of a friend, and have for a while now. I like that we're speaking, finally, about things more important than what's for lunch or what I'm reading or if I want some lemons with my tea (I never do)" DeStefano, pg 95.

And then there was Rose. She was the headstrong first wife. Let me clarify, first wife does not refer to the order of marriage but to the favourism of the wives. Rose was Lindon's favourite and also first wife, because she and him were childhood sweethearts. I loved her involvment in the novel, even if she did die early into the book. She was constantly referenced, and the reader kept discovering new things about her and why Lindon loved her. Rose and Rhine developed a friendship, a reason why Lindon was able to "fall in love" with Rhine just as fast. I do not know why exactly but I loved her character. Just something about Rose that made me smile, her and her June Beans.

"Her voice is cool, and she is so bizarrely serene. It worries me that I've become her favorite new bride simply for my blonde hair, my vague resemblance to her. She is such a brilliant, well-read girl, and I wonder if she has figured out that I'll never love Linden, especially not in the way she does, and that he'll never love anyone the way he loves her. I wonder if she realizes, despite all her efforts to train mem that I can never take her place"

Linden, Linden, Linden. When I first read about him, I wanted to do this

But then I got to know him better and I actually felt ... sympathy? Oh my gosh, I felt sympathy for the same person who kidnapped Rhine! Oh no,no,no,no,no,no! The author must have intentionally did that, to get me to hate Linden in the beginning to only like him by the end. He was just so innocent. He didn't know what was going on and he thought Rhine actually wanted to be his wife. And he was so faithful to Rose that it just tore my heart a bit when he was sobbing her name in his sleep.

Damn you Lauren DeStefano for making me choose between Gabriel and Lindon. One boy who she can live a normal (or as normal as you can get) life with and another boy who is scarred by his dead wife but can give her almost all she wants. I can see Rhine having difficulty choosing. She inspired Lindon to design architecture again and I thought that was mega sweet. But he is also stopping her from seeing the world. I wanted her to go with Gabriel and be happy and free but then again, I wanted her to just stay, for Linden.

Ugh, I am not even going to bother writing about Housemaster Vaughan. Don't get me wrong, he was a well-written antitagonist but just his name alone gets me all angry. I hated him to the dephs of Tartus and below! The author wrote him well enough to make me feel so much anger towards him (view spoiler)

After I read this book, I was talking to two of my friends who also read it and then one of my friends started talking about how "cool the Housemaster was" and I was like

All the other characters were written wonderfully and each had their own role in the book. All the chefs played an imporant role, especially in the end (that's all I'm revealing). Rhine's assistant, Deidre was a sweetheart and she seemed so talented at a mere age of 7. I thought Lauren wrote her character perfectly, incorportating enough ignorance that a child her age would have.

Before I move onto the next point (yikes, I wrote this much already), I just have to talk about the sister wives (and if you had enough of my babbling, feel free to skip to the next point).

Sister Wife 1: Jenna. She is a gorgeous girl of 18 years old, leaving her only 2 years left to live. Jenna was the hardest character to get to know. She was so conservative and negative and quiet. She resented Landon and all of the mansion because of her captivity and I respect her for that. She had an actual family and Landon took her from that. But as time went on, I was finding her a bit more like Rose, like a motherly figure to Rhine and for that, I liked her.

Sister Wife 2: Cecily. She was the reason one of my friends hated this book. Because Cecily is 13 years old and Lindon and her did some ... stuff and then she got a baby. And the weirdest part? She wanted to get pregnant! I have to admit, I hated Cecily almost as much as I hated Housemaster Vaughan. She acted like such a little kid and then I had to remind myself that she is a little kid and that she would be naive. She found the idea of the marriage as a big happily ever after, and coming from an orphanage, it would be. She got to act like a princess and from that stand point, I guess I can tolerate her. But I loved it when Rhine snapped and was all like:


Now I'll move onto the plot, but I'd just like to remind you that with characters alone, this book would get a 5 star rating from me.

I won't go into too much detail but basically the storyline is that Rhine is living in a post-apolytic world where males only live till the age of 25 and females only live till 20. Why? I don't know, some sciency-smartass response that if DeStefano wrote would proabably make the majority of us go

She gets kidnapped and forced into a polagamos marriage to Lindon, Mr.Moneybags. She has to endure life with her sister wives, try to please Lindon, avoid Housemaster Vaughan, try to understand her feelings for a certain Gabriel and all the while, plan and execute an escape.

Yup. That's basically the plot right up there. I did love the idea. I have never read much about polagmy, and honestly, the only reason I ever knew of it was because of TLC's show, Sister Wives. I thought the idea was revolting and terrible and the women where just selling themselves. But now that I read this book, I have come to not admire sister wives, but understand a bit more about them.

I especially enjoyed the different twists the novel took. Rhine doesn't just escape after her first attempt and after that, well, things get complicated. All of a sudden, the story I thought was going to take place switched and within those final pages, I thought I knew the ending and of course, there's a twist RIGHT THERE!

I'm going to adress some flaws because some people just cannot let them go and appreciate the story. Yes, the world building is pretty much non-existant. You're just pushed into the novel and are expected to figure out the world around it as you go along. Normally, I dislike this but I can make the exception for such a beautifully written books like Wither where world building isn't exactly the priority. She focuses more on her characters rather than the setting, which I find much more satasfying.

And the variables in the ages for death was a bit angering. I'll agree, what virus does kill at a certain age? But if you read the book, you can see how those ages play out. And how they needed to be established or else the book would have lead to no where. We need to know that females die at 20 because just saying young is too open-ended. By giving a specific age, we know how much longer Rhine has to live and how hers and her sister wives youth is practically ripped away from the. Nowadays, if you are 20 years old, you are considered young. You are in the prime of your life. If you are 20 years old in the novel, you're dead and might as well be a senior. Using this comparision, that means at an age as young as 7 or 8, is the prime of their life.

If you can't look past those minor flaws to appreciate such a book, then I feel sorry for you. Rarely do I find a book as good as Wither and when I do, I make certain not to overly criticise it. You know it is so easy to critise but then we complain about lack of goodness?

And if you're going to write a bad review, I'll do this to your computer

PlOT = A

The writing was complete genius. It flowed nicely, the pacing was great and the entire story folded out at a perfect rate.

I enjoyed the flashbacks Rhine had of her childhood and her days with her brother Rowan. They were smoothly incorporated into the novel and nothing felt out of place.

Lauren DeStefano wrote with such beauty in each of her words. She had so many descriptions and due to this, created imagery with her words. I could envision the wedding dresses and taste the food the chefs made. I could see the orange grove and the various gardens. Lauren is a master of describing and her writing took me to another world. Sorry, I mean another time.

Absolutely brilliant


2 words: Completely satasfying.


I heard there was a sequel to the book, and I, being the complete idiot I am, read the first chapter which of course, just had to end in a CLIFF HANGER!

I just had to get into it and get all interested just for the end to leave me there.

Now I have to go to the bookstore and buy 'Fever'.

Have you been reading my review? Or did you just skip to the very end? Cause if you been reading, I bet you already know that I L-O-V-E-D this book with a capital everything!

Please go read it! There may be a lot of negative reviews going out but go read it and get an opinion of your own! Don't hate on the book just cause others are.
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