This whole concept just seems like a weird one for YA literature, too In order for the icky factors of child brides one of them is only 13 , kidnappings, forced marriages, fixation on impregnation, murder, medical experimentations, and so on to be successful, they needed to be overridden by solid world building, strong characters, and emotional depth Unfortunately, the whys and wherefores of how society has disintegrated into this is never really explained, and as a result most of set up for this world seems fairly ludicrous The questions that were raised in my mind were also never really answered, nor the characters adequately developed There are surface attempts to create relationships between Rhine and Linden and between the sister wives, but none of them seemed very real or compelling to me and Rhine s interest in Gabriel seems due to proximity than anything else How can people live this closely together for so long and know next to nothing about one another But is there really anything under the surface at all After spending 358 pages with Rhine, I still don t feel as though I really know who she is or why people are drawn to her, except that they re supposed to be It also strains credulity that a healthy young man would view spoiler chastely lie in bed with her for over 10 months and never consummate the marriage, even as he s going through the Kama Sutra with another wife hide spoiler This book makes so little sense that it was almost painful to read Admittedly, I finished Blood Red Road about two seconds before I picked this one up, and it has the same basic premise, but is one of the best books I ve ever read They are both post apocalyptic and about twins cruelly separated, trying to find each other I wasn t going to mention the twin thing because of karen s unreasonable prejudice, but I m kind of okay with people being prejudiced against this book because it sucks Not even just with the unfair comparison to Blood Red Road It kind of sucks on its own, too.
So, you ve got this pretty complicated post apocalyptic society here, where they ve solved cancer, but now all the girls die at age 20 and all the boys die at age 25 None of this is really a spoiler because it s all background that you learn fairly quickly and that has no real connection, as far as I can tell, to the actual story Also, somewhere along the history, somebody destroyed all of the continents except North America I m no scientist I m not even a fan of science but even I could tell you that none of that makes sense I don t really want to hear arguments from the peanut gallery about how technically you could destroy all of the continents and not throw the earth off its axis or some shit like that It just seems weird to me, and the author did not convince me otherwise And I know there are hints that the continents are not actually destroyed, but what I m telling you is that this is a serious issue to me, and I would have appreciated it if Lauren DeStefano had spent less time describing bubble baths and party dresses and time telling me whether in the future there will be continents.
I guess that s my main problem The post apocalyptic garbage was extraneous to the story, which, surprisingly enough, was basically about polygamy and babies I know, I can t get away from the polygamy topic This story could have been set in the present day and it would have madesense.
That reminds me of another of my many beefs with this book It is so annoying to me when something is set in an alternate reality, and then a character is like, for example, What you re saying reminds me of Halloween, which I have obviously never experienced myself, but I know about for some random reason Dumb Stilted.
I was on the Kendwa beach, on the north coast of Zanzibar, when I hand wrote most of this review in my travel journal, and I made a note here that I was a little drunk But seriously, I had been reading this book off and on for the whole week and hating it all the way It is a wolf in sheep s clothing It s a book about pregnancy, polygamy, and bath salts, disguised as a post apocalyptic adventure Here are a couple of ways that it could have been re written to make sense 1 Lose the post apoc business and make it a story about contemporary polygamy and child brides However, whether the story featured me or a man, this would require that the polygamist actually be culpable in acquiring the brides or grooms , rather than just being a lovable idiot, but I m in favor of that anyway because the lovable idiot thing totally offends me.
2 Focus on the post apoc business, but drop the polygamy nonsense It makes zero sense that a society dying like flies would be collecting brides for the rich and shooting the rejects But a society dying in its twenties could be interesting with an entirely different story.
I could continue This book is ridiculous The bad guys are unconvincing the good guys are morons the twin thing was irrelevant to the entire story I know it s setting up for sequels, but even the idea of a sequel, considering the way the book ends, makes me crazy Other than being a really helpful guide for me in my future concubinage endeavors, this book is pretty useless If, however, you want to read a book about a bunch of idiots eating candies that turn their tongues colors, then giving birth and being judgmental about lactation techniques, this is the story for you A friend gave me this as an ARC to read while I was in Zanzibar Thank you, friend 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 Years, And Females With A Lifespan Of 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 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 Together With One Of Linden S Servants, Gabriel, Rhine Attempts To Escape Just Before Her Seventeenth Birthday But In A World That Continues To Spiral Into Anarchy, Is There Any Hope For Freedom My grandmother was twelve when she got married Fourteen when she gave birth to her first child By the time she was thirty, she had given birth to seven children I m telling you this to give you a little perspective on where I m coming from A culture where child brides are not so far in the past that we can t see their faces A social order where things we can t imagine today were not only accepted, but natural Indian mythology is filled with stories of polygamy a king with three wives, a queen with five husbands These are the stories I grew up with, ingrained seamlessly into my culture This may be why some of the things that disturb people about Wither don t seem quite as unnatural and unbelievable to me Ideally, I should give Wither four stars The world building pretty much sucks, to be honest There is a token acknowledgement of a debilitating virus, one that kills all the young women at the age of twenty, and young men at the age of twenty four I m always unconvinced by age determined viruses, especially when they are so specific Can you think of one, just one disease we have right now that would attack at person at a specific age With no variables I can t either, and that is the first point at which the world building falls short The second is the complete lack of detail that goes into building this dystopian society There are very many, many descriptions of the dresses and the house and the holograms, but none whatsoever of the real world outside the privileged set that Rhine is introduced to When you re building an alternate universe, you have envision every aspect of it If only a section of North America is left unsubmerged which is pretty unconvincing in and of itself then would an industrialized society such as the one described in Wither still work Where are the crops grown Where are the raw materials processed In the absence of most of the world s population, where are they finding the labour for even the bare necessities, let alone house constructions and clothing manufacture and soap opera production If all the children in this world are dying young, where are they finding the time and guidance to learn skilled trades that would keep all of the technology functioning Where is the religion If there s one thing that comes to the fore at the edge of the world s destruction, it s religion Too many questions that are left conveniently unanswered But I am willing to forgive the flaws in the world building as I did in A Long, Long Sleep because of the sheer beauty of the writing If there s one thing that can suck me in and hold me captive, it s beautiful prose And Lauren De Stefano s prose is world class What really caught me about this book was the human element It just happens with some characters, you know They re not just interesting, they re almost real And with Wither, that didn t happen with just one character, but almost all of them I found myself connecting, really connecting, on a level deeper than words, with all of the wounded, desperate people in this story.
The story is complex and saturated with emotion It is the emotion that throbs behind every sentence that really gives this book its character The plot unfolds beautifully, and Rhine is the perfect central character, smart and tough, but also so very vulnerable When she is first stolen and sold as a bride to a House Governor, she is full of anger and pain She is determined to hate her husband, the cause of so much misery and death Her only goal is escape, her beacon the freedom to live her short life and die in a place and a life of her choosing This ambition shapes her actions throughout the book, but it doesn t make her a single dimensional character She begins to develop feelings for one of the servants sold into captivity she forms a bond with her sister wives she even slowly begins to understand and care for her husband, so hapless and oblivious And Linden Linden just broke my heart I ve read some reviews that talk about his lack of spine, but to me, Linden was never a weak character He s one of the most powerful ones in the story, in fact In the beginning, I was inclined to hate him, much as Rhine did But DeStefano pulled the rug out from under my feet He s such a mixture of affection and dependency and na vet He is as much a victim of circumstance and manipulation as any of the sister wives, a fact that only slowly becomes obvious to the reader and to Rhine Here s what I admired about DeStefano s writing she made me like Linden before she revealed his ignorance about the death and destruction surrounding the world around him I felt almost schizophrenic towards the end of the book, with one half of my mind urging Rhine towards choice and freedom, and the other half urging her to stay, just for Linden.
Rhine s bond with her sister wives is also a huge plus point for this book From initial distance and distrust, she slowly begins to form a bond with them, to truly become their sister Even with Rose, the first wife who dies before her marriage, she manages to form a sympathetic relationship She cares deeply about Jenna, the withdrawn, tortured recluse and Cecily, the child trembling on the brink of adulthood and too blind to see what she s missing The subtle loss of Cecily s childhood and her ignorance of its value was especially chilling and beautifully drawn I like the fact that DeStefano realistically portrays Rhine s conflict between staying and going Even as she acknowledges the lure of freedom, Rhine worries about her newfound family, and is seduced by the idea of living out her life in the comfort and solicitude of Linden s home.
Every character tugged a separate heartstring, from the little domestic Dierdre, to Gabriel, so very much in love and so very helpless to do anything about it I m glad the romance took a backseat in this story, without ever quite going away It wasn t all desperate declarations of love and affirmations of undying passion Instead it was one thread to add to all the other threads tangling together in Rhine s complicated life And over all of it was the shining theme of freedom, never really pushed in my face, but woven throughout the story Every time Rhine is in danger of getting too complacent, she remembers what real freedom is, no matter how uncomfortable and painful achieving it may be Rhine is a character I will remember for a long time, strong and courageous and pragmatic and dreamy and smart and vulnerable and so very real I m not sure I would classify this book as YA Lauren DeStefano s prose is solid and stately, complex and layered, with ideas and emotions that require a certain level of experience and maturity to resonate with a reader But personally, this is a book that has found a place in my heart, and also taught me that dissing a book before trying it for myself is a Very Bad Idea Disclosure An ARC of this book was provided to me by the publishers for review purposes No external considerations affected this review.
Surprisingly, the worst thing for me about Wither was the boredom I experienced trying to finish it I had previously been warned that the dystopia made little sense and didn t contain a particularly relevant message to society unless you count trying to scare the hell out of teenage girls who may have otherwise carelessly become pregnant But again, I m not sure what point if any Lauren DeStefano was trying to make Though that wasn t the biggest problem.
Divergent had no political or social relevance but it was still wildly entertaining for me and I was addicted to finding out what would happen in such a ridiculous and far fetched dystopian setting Wither was terribly dull I expected shock tactics and obscene cruelty that would have me sat, pulse racing, wondering what would happen to our protagonist and if she would ever get free of the marriage she was forced into.
Well, I m sorry, but like Matched it simply wasn t dramatic enough, it wasn t that bad I know it must be awful to be forced into a marriage with someone you have no feelings for but Linden was kind to Rhine, she wasn t raped or treated badly, she was well fed and had access to a large and pretty house If this was reality then I would have felt sorry for Rhine, but fiction needs drama to it I wanted to be scared for her, sad for her, I wanted the novel to make me feel something and it never did.
Plus, even though I said it wasn t the main issue, the fact that what this dystopia is all based on is not explained, well, that s quite bad So, basically, curing diseases like cancer in one generation suddenly means that all their children and their children s children and so on now die young Females at twenty and males at twenty five Huh, why It could have been very interesting if it had been explained Though I m rather certain that thus far Lauren DeStefano hasn t a clue as to why it happened, she doesn t appear to have worked out the whys and hows of her world building.
Also, small but annoying, if you re going to have that romance story subplot and it seems everyone is then at least create chemistry and sell it to me, because I m not convinced I finished the book with no cares as to whether Rhine and Gabriel had a successful relationship, the only thing in his favour throughout is that he s the better option to Linden and that s hardly difficult.
I do understand how some people thought the writing was pretty, there were parts where I paused and re read a sentence because it sounded nice But it wasn t enough to hold up the entire novel, and especially not when I have recent reads like Lips Touch Three Times, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Piper s Son to compare it to.
I don t understand the hype when it comes to Wither, as I usually do with other popular books that didn t do it for me If you want to read a fantastic dystopia about what happens when a woman s control of her choices and her womb are taken away, then pick up The Handmaid s Tale.
I m not a chick that falls easily into hype but sometimes it can be hard to avoid, like with this book It seems like EVERYONE absolutely LOVES this book I have not come across one blogger saying anything to the contrary Of course I could be missing a few but those that I do wander across, love I had to wade into Goodreads reviews to find black sheep like myself that found serious fundamental issues with this story on multiple levels Did I buy into the hype initially To an extent books get pimped all the time but it s not all that often that they re swayed so heavily like Wither was So when I went to read it, my expectations were slightly higher than normal Unfortunately the book didn t even come close to meeting them And of course I then started to freak out a little and that s when I started looking for the less than stellar reviews Did anyone else feel like I did about Wither Yes They re the minority but yes As some asstastic random commenters on Goodreads would have it, anyone with a dissenting opinion against the overwhelming majority should just shut the hell up and keep their opinions to themselves or suffer the wrath Sillies Does that sound like me See, with dystopian fiction, you can t just insert random catastrophic, shock value events for people to live around without having a thorough understanding of how our society works today and how this current society would potentially break down under such apocalyptic situations So when I see a statement in the ilk of the ice caps were vaporized long ago by warfare with zero environmental nor humanstic repercussions for such an event, my suspension of disbelief gets punched in the face It can only take so many hits before it just gives up DeStefano punched my disbelief in the face A lot.
If the elements in a dystopian world don t make sense, I just can t take the rest of the plot seriously because everything ends up disjointed Let s take those ice caps which is a near quote from the book, by the way They were vaporized by warfare Breaking that down, we would have to have weaponry that ran so hot it could vaporize Antarctica Which holds a steady 35 degrees Celsius Okay Hot weapons But if they re cataclysmic enough to do that, what about the rest of the planet Would it not get completely annihilated People, we d turn into Mercury if there were weapons that could do that Since weapons of mass destruction have not moved beyond the nuclear warhead in the 65 years it s been in existence, and this story is only set about 70 years in the future, it s relatively logical to assume that they haven t moved much beyond that And since nukes now are capable of ass raping humanity, what this premise is saying that they ve created something beyond that that have been used but people still exist No, sorry You can t just pick and choose which elements to remove without considering the greater repercussions of that action And this isn t even considering the environmental impact of releasing millions of square miles of ice as vapor into the atmosphere Guys, we d have beach front property in Kansas if that happened We d have floods of Arc proportions that would have even Noah going fuck this shit Do you see what I mean Since we have Rhine going from Manhattan to Florida, from that tiny statement alone my suspension of disbelief has a black eye, a bloody nose and is missing a tooth Factor in a nonsensical virus that no one can explain yet everyone s looking for a cure to how you can fight something you know nothing about is beyond me and how no one knows how it works after 50 years is absurd , women dying before men when, scientifically, women outlast men, and again, this virus seems to function for no other reason than shock value , how the society has de evolved to a Victorian polygamists compound despite coming from a feminist culture where women should be smart enough to hold their crotchtal regions hostage and switch control since, you know, they re the ones with the power to control the fate of procreation in their nether regions , the whole of the planet has destroyed itself in viral chaos except for North American which, upon first mention, had me going are you fucking kidding me either the author is shitting on the rest of the planet for being feral idiots that couldn t survive the virus or she s shitting on Americans for being dumb enough to believe that we re the only ones superior enough to survive this, either way it s bad , girls getting slaughtered for not being bride material in a society where a womb is like gold, makes total sense Oo and the kick to the nuts the author gives sensical dystopian fiction, my suspension of disbelief was pureed in a blender and drunk for breakfast.
The world failed hard Nothing made sense and everything seemed to exist to serve the plot DeStefano pushed aside what should have been valuable research for shock value and pretty dresses.
And then there were inconsistencies in the plot, like Rhine s desperation to leave Yet when she s presented with perfectly valid windows of opportunity, she passes on them for one stupid reason or another With her earthly clock winding down, you d think time would be valuable Waste none, right So instead of taking the opportunity to, literally, walk away, Rhine tried to made mad dashes in the most horrible, inconvenient ways Why I have no idea other than to make the plot interesting.
Linden s an idiot pedophile whose ignorance is made to actually be appealing He doesn t know what his dad is doing His father keeps him in the dark Maybe he isn t so bad after all No He s no ignorant of what s going on in his own damn house than the Germans were of the camps they were living next to Sorry, guy, but you don t live in the middle of a shit pile and not smell the stink It really bothered me how his whole situation attempted to make Rhine s blooming Stockholm syndrome justifiable and even okay No She was kidnapped Her sister wives are being raped This is not okay But of course Rhine gets a free pass In a house where Vaughn is salivating to produce loinfruit, Rhine doesn t have to get down with her pedo husband for reasons I guess She just weasels her way out of it Or someone didn t want to write a rape scene from behind the eyes of the MC Either or.
Any antagonist in this story is implied and insinuated but never shown Yeah, we see Vaughn with a body in a gurney but anything outside of that window is pure conjecture We hear gunshots but the door s closed before anything could actually be proven The fear is spread by rumors and wild imaginations As far as we know, there is no threat But people s wagging jaws and out of context scenes keep the fear alive We have no idea what really happens outside of Rhine s eyes She doesn t even know what happens outside of her eyes She just guesses.
The words on paper were good enough to get me from beginning to end I was definitely compelled to read through to the end and find out what happened to Rhine, despite the fact that I found her to be a whiny brat without the brain she kept saying she had in Manhattan I liked the oldest sister wife whose name escapes me right now I found her the most dynamic, the most compelling character But the world is written so lazily and the situations so nonsensical that I just couldn t get into it I couldn t push the niggling back far enough to enjoy it Sorry, but I m science minded and I don t like it when people fuck over science for the sake of dances and bubble baths and candies If I can t believe the world in which these characters live, how I even begin to believe them In all honesty, I d bet money on the cure for this virus being in Rhine s multi colored eyes It s mentioned too hard and fast in this book not to carry weight further on down the line You don t show a gun in the first act and not have it go off in the third, you know So I would not be surprised if Rhine lives beyond her scheduled 20 years because of some genetic mutation caused by those multi colored eyes Or the twin thing factors into it, or both They both survive because they split off from the same egg, thus each carrying the same mutation to both embryos and saving both children, only one s dominant and one s recessive The twin thing is pretty dominant in the story too, and it was mentioned that Rhine and her brother were the first non deformed twins her parents had But I might be thinking way too far ahead of myself here because this is all branched off of scientific accuracy, which this book spits in the face of.
When it comes down to it, remove the characters from the story and set them in ether and you have a love triangle coupled with kidnapping It s not a normal love triangle where the contenders are evenly matched One is made pretty obvious over the other here and the other two chicks are there basically for shock value They re not competition I guess but they don t really serve a purpose other than to serve Rhine s plot.
Chances are you ll get sucked into it but personally, you have to turn your suspension of disbelief way up to get through it Like I said, I was compelled to read through to the end and I liked the ending The story could rightly end there although we know it doesn t , it was nice and cleanly finished in a happy ending sort of way It was nice But the rip my hair out parts far exceeded anything good I found in Wither There are far better, and far believable, dystopians available out there that couple not only a strong and less squick worthy romance but a well built, believable world to set it in.
EDIT This was not in my original review, and while I did say it on my blog, twitter and several other bookish communities, I think it ought to go here as well Lauren DeStefano is actually a very talented writer She has the enviable ability to create beautiful sentences, and to turn those beautiful sentences into evocative and atmospheric paragraphs, even pages Simply putshe has a way with wordsI look forward to the day she writes something else, NOT related to this book, very much I am anxious to see what she has to offer when her talent isn t being marred by a really, really bad story END OF EDIT Sex 3 5 It was never graphic, but there was a lot of semi discreet discussions about different positions making it likely to conceive a baby, and mention of brothels It s all matter of fact and not sexy at all, but since the main character was kidnapped to be a baby maker, sex is a pretty omnipresent topic Violence 3 5 A few anecdotes mention violence in passing a car bomb, a girl waiting to stab her husband, nuclear warfare The whole tone of the book is pretty bleak and gruesome, and the virus that magically attacks everybody on their birthday causes them to cough up blood and die quickly Language 0 5 Nothing Substance Abuses 2 5 Everybody drinks, there s no legal drinking age because everybody is a child The sixteen year old protagonist who never has a birthday in a year gets falling down drunk at least twice Her twenty year old husband again, no birthday does the same.
After a great deal of reflection, I can t shake off the fondness I had for this novel For me it had a deep, rich, intoxicating quality that I don t often read in Young Adult novels and has become an increasing rarity for me.
Many reviews make a deal of the problems associated with the implausible premise If you think that s going to bother you then you re best to steer clear of this one As for me, unbelievable characters or plot holes will ruin my reading experience but I ve never necessarily been deterred by an implausible story vehicles so long as it gave me a good ride TWSS As with Unwind, I prefer to see the value of the idea fulfilled than to wonder over how likely, or unlikely it is.
However, Unwind s premise was always very clearly tied to its themes and intentions which didn t always feel as such with Withered I found it difficult to determine what the main themes of Withered actually were The value of freedom glimpsed from a gilded cage The systematic oppression of women when society is placed under stress The insidious nature of Stockholm syndrome Despite the ambiguity of the above, Wither is very readable, complete with unsettling atmosphere, interesting, relatable characters and a compelling plot I wonder at the characterization of Linden, though, and it worries me Raise The Red Lantern depicted this setting best, for me, by not even showing the husband on screen It strained credibility that he could be so na ve, so blind to the world around him and, at times, felt weak to not portray him as a realistic character Realistically, he would have been a character who purchased three girls from slave traders and, with full knowledge and forethought, forced them to marry him Perhaps that is the crux of the issue Despite Rhine s seeming pragmatism, there was a romanticizing, idealic undertone that couldn t be ignored Where the bad people are irredeemably bad and the good are great and we all know which side of that line they re on Whether black or white Still, I can t complain really I thought every character was reasonably complex and interesting even if I would have preferred to read this story with a different type of Linden, just to see a bold stance by the author.
I think DeStefano s strong stylistic abilities and natural story telling flare saved this for me Parts of me wanted it to be a grittier, rawer read, but the other half wasn t sure my blood pressure would take it So if you re looking for an interesting, thought provoking YA Dystopian, give this a try
so this is the handmaid s tale for kids with some new details for the modern set premise world is basically over only north america survives, but barely like one step better than the road due to genetic manipulation and subsequent oopses, there are considerably lower life expectancies girls live to be twenty, boys to twenty five then coughing, blood, expiration.
so, to keep the population going, and to provide new babies to experiment with, many young girls are kidnapped and sold into marriages where they are treated like goddesses, frankly, except they can t leave and they are expected to fulfill all those wifely duties with the highest bidder.
see, here is my problem if the world was shitty enough that you had to live in the basement with only your twin brother for company, nailing shut the door to prevent thieves and murderers from breaking in and holding knives to your throats, and afraid to go outside unprotected because marauders would kidnap you and maybe sell you into prostitution, only one day you do get captured this is all in the first couple of pages, so don t start putting your hands over your ears and going lalalalalala and they plop you in a mansion to be one of three brides to a wealthy man with a pool and a library and a bevvy of stylists who make dresses just for you and cooks who bring you whatever you want at any time i mean what s the big deal if you are going to die in four years anyway, why not live like this tolerate some fumbled caresses that are all too easy to deter, anyway and sit around reading and drinking hot cocoa until you cough yourself to death do i just not value my liberty is it because i technically have no siblings so i don t understand the family pull am i just too soft and domesticated i could totally be a kept woman if the alternative was freezing and starving to death i mean you die when you are twenty in a world with very little left what, are you going to have a career not likely me, i will be eating the chocolate covered strawberries on the trampoline, thank you very much does this reflect poorly on my character and i didn t dislike the book, but i just couldn t relate to the character the whole time, i m like come on, girl, it isn t that bad but i will totally read the next two books in this trilogy, especially if ariel isn t mad at me for not loving it as much as she did i definitely think this book will be popular with the teens, but with ambitious and less comfort loving girls than megoing to curl up now with netflix and pomegranate iced tea.
come to my blog Let me start by saying that I know numerous people who liked or loved this book, and that I see why someone would and I mean no disrespect to your opinions You have, in general, written very eloquent, expressive reviews describing why you liked it and I have read and enjoyed those reviews I m not here to step on anyone s toes.
Except maybe Lauren DeStefano s, because I didn t like this book.
Wither fans, I might be mean after this point You ve been warned.
The basic concept of this book is bullshit Science perfected children and freed the world of disease, but when their perfect generation had kids, the kids all died when they reached a certain age It s so freaking precise it s ridiculous Something flips a switch in women at age 20, and in men at age 25, and they die before they reach their next birthday.
Aw fuck, who told you you could throw science out the window Disease is not that precise Period Someone who is perfectly healthy for nineteen years doesn t suddenly start dying when they turn twenty Believe it or not, nature doesn t give a shit about your birthday If it had been a wasting disease that meant pretty much no one lived past their 25th birthday because they were Withering away for their entire lives, I might have bought it Maybe But as is it s totally ridiculous and serves no purpose except to a provide an excuse for everyone to be young and b make them all angsty.
And that s just the beginning of the science fails in this book My theory is that DeStefano has a horrible swell up and die allergic reaction to research, because she doesn t seem to have done any Which results ina world where the polar ice caps have been melted and yet the action takes place in FLORIDA You know what the highest point in Florida is It s called Britton Hill, and it s 345 feet tall If both polar ice caps melted, USGS estimates that sea levels would rise 215 feet That means only 130 feet of Britton Hill would be exposed above the water Florida s average elevation, by the way, is 100 feet above sea level, which means that in Rhine s world it should be 115 feet below the water Manhattan, where Rhine lived before she was kidnapped, and L.
, from which some fabric is once ordered, wouldn t be any better off.
a war in the history of this world that demolished all but North America, the continent with the most advanced technology The damage was so catastrophic that all that remains of the rest of the world is ocean and uninhabitable islands so tiny that they can t even be seen from space I m not sure what kind of weapons DeStefano thinks can demolish entire CONTINENTS into tiny islands, first of all, but if she s alluding to nukes I can promise you that we, the loud and proud U.
S of A.
, would be first on some other nuclear powers shit lists Which means that North America wouldn t be left unscathed And Manhattan certainly wouldn t have survived because really, if you were an enemy power wanting to hurt the States, you d hit D.
, New York, and Los Angeles before almost anything else.
Also, the idea of a war that could destroy the Himalayas is ridiculous.
And if everyone s dying before they turn thirty, there s no way they re still running a space program, so how would they know if the islands are visible from space or not This strikes me as a stunning cop out There s no need for the other continents to be destroyed, except maybe saving DeStefano from having to involve them in her plot Frankly, if the ice caps melted the world would be fucked up enough without a war Between ice caps, catastrophic war, and messed up genetic experiences, this world is bizarre beyond readability.
characters who are supposedly smart, or who know about things, and yet think Christopher Columbus circumnavigated the world in the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria If anyone ever, ever, ever tells you this, hit them It was MAGELLAN whose expedition first circumnavigated the globe he had five ships and a two second Google search will give you the names of all of them, none of which sound remotely like Columbus s little fleet But hell, that doesn t even take reasearch Anyone who went through American high school should know that Columbus didn t sail around the world a society that has holograms everywhere, ubiquitously, but still uses a card catalog in its library I don t think I need to explain this It s just preposterous.
a Florida in which it snows Heavily A lot I lived in South Carolina for about four years and do you know how much it snowed ONCE Also, if the ice caps melted, your average temperature should be higher, not lower Big fucking duh.
hurricanes that only start hitting the coast in October Hurricane season starts in June And also, if Africa is shattered, what makes you think you ll have hurricanes at all They do require continents to form, you know they don t just pop up out of nowhere.
So that s the science for you Fucking stupid Now, let s talk about non scientific logic fails.
1 Though girls are supposedly ever so valuable as wombs, those who aren t bought by the wealthy are killed.
2 Christmas has somehow, for reasons never explained, become the solstice celebration Look, if the world is screwed up, people are going to turn towards religion, not away from it.
3 Rhine s idea of a disguise is putting in contacts As if her eyes are her only distinguishing feature This girl ain t the sharpest knife in the drawer.
4 Linden, despite having lost someone very important to him before, supposedly can t understand Rhine and Cecily s grief when someone they cared for died Uuuuum what And then there s the character of Rhine She was, for lack of a better word, a tool When she hears servants badmouthing someone who treated them like shit, she thinks that none of these people, laughing at her expense, would understand anyway She has no respect for her fellow sister wives, and it takes her far too long to recognize that Jenna isn t a weakling who s trying to ignore the world Jenna, the one character in the book who I really liked, is far better to Rhine than Rhine deserves Oh, and there s the time when Rhine, knowing Gabriel is going to come up with a logical reason why her plan is idiotic, kisses him to shut him up I m not kidding here, have a quote I know, I just know, that he s going to use logic against me, and that will never do if I want to get out of this place at all before I die, so I kiss him There are other things, of course Cecily was a little brat for the entire book, and frankly she disgusted me maybe that s just me being a prude, but there you go Linden had moments when he might have been interesting, but he was way too oblivious and some of his actions seemed irrational Also, while sometimes he was a nice guy, he occasionally just made decisions for his wives without even thinking about their sides of it.
My reaction to this book may be a result of the fact that after twelve years of public education I m completely sick of immaturity My tolerance level right now is miniscule And because none of these characters are allowed to grow up, they act immaturely all the goddamn time.
But while that s probably a factor, it s not the only reason I disliked this book It s supposedly science fiction, which means there should be SCIENCE IN IT And while it may not actually be dystopia, since it doesn t spring out of anything in the modern world, it doesn t fit in post apocalyptic fiction either because the apocalypse is given only a passing mention and doesn t affect the world in the way it logically should.
Wither got its second star for the ending, because it was actually quite beautiful Not good enough for me to read a sequel, but I left the book feeling a bit positive than I expected.