Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the book cover:
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb--males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape--to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

A little while ago I saw a vlog done by the Lauren DeStefano about the effects of Good Reads on authors and really enjoyed her sense of humor. That caught my interest, so I sought out Wither. I was delighted to discover that my library had the audio version done by Recorded Books (excellently narrated by Angela Lin). This meant that I could listen to the book while I worked on other things. It was well worth it. The world is well constructed; you learn enough to be intrigued, but are left with questions about the society. The story is character driven, and those characters are well developed. Rhine is very compelling. She is a heroine that you genuinely want to see succeed. While some of the characters may seem like stock characters initially, DeStefano has created them with enough depth that they are believable and you find yourself somewhat sympathetic of even the evil House Master Vaughn. I look forward to the second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, and the next phase of Rhine's adventure.

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