The buzz about this new dystopian YA has been huge, so it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, right? Uh…wrong. First, the official blurb:
ABOUT WITHER: By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?
MY THOUGHTS: I was a little slow warming to Wither because it’s written in present tense and there’s nothing wrong with that except it annoys the bejeebers out of me. But the story’s so engaging and the writing so smooth that–gasp–about a third of the way in I forgot I was even reading present-tense prose.The official blurb glosses over the brutality of the wife-snatching system, the sheer creepiness of the evil father-in-law, the relationship that Rhine develops with one of the servants at the mansion, and the utter hopelessness of the life these people are forced to live. The characters are rich and vivid, and the world DeStefano builds is complex and thought-provoking. If you like dystopian fiction or just good YA, don’t miss this one. Warning: this is the first of a trilogy and ends on a serious cliffhanger. Left me sputtering: but…but…but….
I’m giving away an ARC of Wither to one commenter. As always, +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or Retweet.