Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings.Original Language: English
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Page Count: 358
Wither is Lauren DeStefano's debut novel and the first in a YA dystopian trilogy. It was published in March this year and I've been waiting for months to get my hands on it. It was everything as wonderful as I had hoped, and much to short for my tastes.
In terms of fitting into the field of YA dystopian novels, Wither definitely makes the cut and sits with the cool kids. The characters are engaging and the plot, though the story stays in the one house, keeps moving. Best of all is the idea that drives the story - in a future where genetic engineering has significantly shortened the human life span.
The characters were interesting. Rhine and Linden were the most developed, obviously, but other characters like Gabriel and Jenna are developed enough to keep the story progressing neatly. Cecily is both annoying and adorable while Rowan will hopefully receive enough development in future books to make him interesting. Meanwhile, Housemaster Vaughn is a fascinating villain - he seemingly wants the best for his son but there is a second and more sinister motive behind his actions.
The plot moves quickly - at times almost too quickly - and creates a sweeping story that easily engages the reader. The interaction between characters, especially the camaraderie between the Sister Wives, and of course between Rhine and Gabriel. Linden can sometimes be a weak link but mostly DeStephano has created a solid world that beguiles the senses.
Wither's sequel, Fever is due for publication in February next year. I look forward to getting my hands on it.