Thursday, February 16, 2012
YA Sci-Fi: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date: March 2011
Acquired: won from Wrighty's Reads
Read: because the sequel is coming out this month
Reading time: four days
From the back cover: In the not-too-distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human is a ticking time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. To keep the population from dying out, girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages. When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted - except freedom. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape before it is too late.
My review: I wanted so much to like this book. I mentioned in my review of Delirium that I was skeptical of "girly" dystopias but had been proved wrong by Lauren Oliver's novel. I wanted to be proved wrong by Wither, too, but it didn't quite make the cut.
Some parts of the novel were really well-done. I thought the forced, polygamous marriage aspect was handled well. The other characters - sisters wives Jenna and Cecily and husband Linden - were likeable and their motives were understandable. The entire situation had a fascinating aura of suspense and mystery, though I wish more had been explained. It seemed like, for the ending DeStefano took, more should have been uncovered in the course of the book. Instead, I was left with very few answers and a ton of questions that appear to not be addressed in the sequel.
What did I not consider well-done? I thought almost the entire novel was under-developed. It was a fun, exciting read, yes, but there were too many plot holes. All of the other continents were completely destroyed in a third world war, but America still has holograms and an extremely wealthy, sumptuously-living elite? And in the midst of all this, genetic engineering got rid of all diseases (except for the one virus)? And the idea of foods and goods constructed from chemicals kept popping up in brief mention, but the subject was never explained, though it obviously has something to do with the name of the series. Ugh, I'll take my hard sci-fi over this new romance-driven genre.