21 March 2011

Book Review: Wither by Lauren Destefano

Wither by Lauren Destefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011 (US) | August 4, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommended? Yes, and no.
Buy the Book: Amazon USAmazon UK

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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left. - Goodreads page

Wither begins with our main character, Rhine, being picked up by a grey van and sold to a rich businessman, along with two other girls. The story picks up straight away, and the reader learns that in this futuristic world, women die at twenty and men die at twenty-five. Therefore, the logical thing to do, is to buy a load of women to make them your wives, and turn them into baby machines, right? Wrong, but that’s what happens all the time.

So Rhine and the two other wives, Jenna and Cecily, are married to Linden and confined to a floor of a huge mansion. And that is where 99% of the novel takes place, aside from the occasional outing or flashback. I love the fact that this novel is dystopian, but it just didn’t have the generic dystopian feel to it. I couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing until I finished reading. It wasn’t that good. 

I didn’t like that we were confined with the mansion. Sure, it suited the purpose and made me feel claustrophobic, but I would have liked to have seen more of this futuristic world. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be that different to 2011, but the only really differences I could see were the holographic video games and sharks in the pool. And the advances in medicine, of course. 

I liked the three wives. Rhine, whose point of view the story is told from, doesn’t want to be a wife. She will do almost anything to escape, yet she goes about it in a cunning, smart way. I loved that. I was definitely rooting for her to get out. 

Then there’s Jenna, who figures that as she’s going to die in two years anyway, she doesn’t really care about what happens to her. Jenna was a brilliant character, and she was very loyal toward Rhine. A great friend! Cecily is the youngest, and she’s the wife that gets pregnant first. At thirteen, she is already set to become a baby making machine.

I also loved Rhine’s love interest. He wasn’t introduced straight away, nor was it love at first sight, which was incredibly refreshing! It was obvious what was going to happen between the two of them, but I was kept hooked when reading about their friendship - and then later on, their relationship.

Lauren Destefano’s writing was good, but I felt that many scenes were too rushed through. I got confused at some points, and a bit more description and explanation would have been nice. This was the main reason why I didn’t love the book as much as I wish I could have.

In short, I was hoping to love this book a lot more than I did. Some things just didn’t work for me, and others did but they were either rushed or left undeveloped. I recommend reading this if you’re a fan of dystopian fiction, as a lot of people have loved this book, but I can’t say it’s a favourite, unfortunately. That said, I will definitely be picking up the sequel, as the ending to this book is left very open, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Rhine!


  1. Just finished this one! I agree about the refreshing romance in this one. So nice for it to have a slow development and not to be love at first sight. I also would've liked to have seen more from the world. Hopefully now that they've escaped, there's a lot more to come!

    Amazing review! I'm going to include it in my own.

  2. Thank you Aylee! I hope we see more of the world now as well. I think we should! I'm really wondering where the next part of the story is going to take us - the way it ended meant that almost anything can happen! :D

  3. Oh no, another not so wonderful rating. I have to laugh though because my copy just arrived this morning and today is the first day I've read a negative review on Wither. Danny @ Bewitched Bookworms just gave it a 2 star, just as my postie was pushing it through my letterbox lol

    I did enjoy reading your review though. You make some very valid points and I'm looking forward to reading it so I can see exactly what you mean.

  4. Thank you Karen. My review and Danny's don't seem to have been timed too perfectly, then! Don't - and I'm sure you won't - let our reviews cloud your judgement, you're more likely to be in the group of people who love it :) Statistically, at least!

  5. I really enjoyed this book, but I agree that things were incomplete. I don't think the romance was fleshed out well enough although I liked Gabriel. I also really liked Linden. Things definitely happened too fast. At the expense of developing the world. I hope future books will clear things up.

  6. I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy this one as much. I still want to give it a try though. Thanks for your honest review!

  7. Thank you for the review Amber! I may think twice before picking this up - even if the cover is very pretty!

  8. I'm just about half way through Wither now and although I have been enjoying parts of it, I've also been really disappointed in aspects of it.

    Great review!


Thank you for commenting!