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!