Wednesday, September 28, 2011

book review: wither by lauren destefano

Some of the best books leave me gasping, desperately seeking to find the sequel, hurriedly hunting down what happens next. Wither by Lauren DeStefano was one of those books.

 Book Cover Synopsis:
"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?"

When I first saw this description, I knew I needed to read it, and fast. The impulsive person in me reacted and read it just as fast, too. Why? The story is just amazing and completely probable, which makes it all the better.

One of the highlights was the imagery used. DeStefano has such a talent for description, vividly creating a sense of who each character is, where they fit in, where they could (or could not go) in the context of the plot. She uses different external objects to do this. The ocean, the Orange Grove, the June Beans. (You'll have to read where those fit in.) I fell in love with it all. And the cover art is just as good. Rhine, in so many ways, is a caged bird. Enhancing this through the connection between her wedding band and the bird is ingenious. It reminded me of the poem "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, which is entirely worth googling or following that hyperlink. I usually pass on some of my books, but I need to keep this one on my shelf for future reference; it's that good.

And my lack of frustration with figuring out the character definitely helped. You see, I have a hard time making out the faces of literary characters sometimes, but I recently saw the music video for the song "Easy" by Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield. I imagine Rhine to look exactly like Bedingfield in this video (besides the eyes, of course). Take a look. If you've read the book, do you agree?

The moral of the post is: definitely read Wither. It's fantastic in every sense of the word.

'Til next time!

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