Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 356 Pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
In this dystopian novel, women live to 20 and men make it to 25. Cancer, AIDS, all sorts of diseases are eradicated, but this is what happens when you fool around with Mother Nature. Another virus comes and eradicates humans.
Rhine Ellery knows that she is in the back of a van with 20 other girls all aged between 13 and 19 years of age. These girls are important in keeping the world populated so they are taken, sold into marriages to procreate to try and find cure that is killing humans. If you are not deemed worthy you are executed. Rhine is considered unique because of her two different colored eyes. Plus she is at the right age (16) to marry Linden who is 21 and his current wife is dying of the virus. So along with two other girls: Cecily (age 13) and Jenna (18), they are married off to Linden.
This story had so much to it and I don't think I could do it justice reviewing it. This is a book that needs to be read to understand how good it is. Rhine was a great character and watching her deal with her other sister wives (Cecily the brat and Jenna the introvert), deal with her being kidnapped and held hostage, not knowing what has happened with her twin brother. Slowly, Rhine also falls in love with Gabriel, a servant who attends to Rhine.
However, Linden's father, Vaughn has other ideas. He's considered an original. Meaning he was alive during the eradication of the diseases mentioned above. He's roughly in his 70s and is trying to find a cure to save his son. In fact, Vaughn will kill to find anyway to find a cure.
Rhine can't stay even though Linden is falling for her. She looks more like his first wife (he married for love). She's patient with him and he considers her the First Wife. She goes to balls and parties and she even gets him to start drawing again. He's an architect.
I never really knew where with this story was going. You see how she handles Linden with kid gloves, and how she really wants to be with Gabriel, who does not know what it is like outside of the mansion. He was bought as a young child.
The Mansion was also a character in itself. The sister wives were locked on a floor where there were no stairs only elevators. You needed a key card to get to any part of the house outside of the floor they were stationed at. Gabriel has a key card. So Rhine plots her escape. But not before Cecily gives birth to Linden's son. Jenna becomes a pawn in the game of life and Linden really falls hard for Rhine.
I literally devoured this book in no time. The whole dystopian aspect of it was brilliant. How would you feel if you knew that by the time you turned 20, you were going to die? I couldn't imagine it. I couldn't imagine being kidnapped and taken away from your only family. (Rhine's parents were also looking for a cure, they were originals and had Rhine and Rowan late in life in their 50s) but they were targeted by people who don't want a cure found and assassinated. It is a scary world and being a girl or young woman is terrifying. It's weird how I read this right after Bumped where birthing is the rage. There is something terrifying about having that part of you taken away. Being forced to procreate, tantamount to rape. Even if it is your 'husband'. I could go on an on about this book discussing the political ramifications. The personal ramifications.
I was saddened by Cecily's light being extinguished after she performed her 'wifely' duties. She is 13! But that is the way of the world in Wither.