Lauren DeStefano’s first novel, Wither was fantastic. I couldn’t resist reading about Rhine, wondering what was going to happen to her next. The story was full of urgency. The beginning was incredible. DeStefano didn’t ease into her story. She started with action, fear and consequence. We learn about Rhine and her past as she moves through the present and worries about the future. In the world of Wither women only live until 20 and men until 25. This has spawned the acceptance of human trafficking, teenage pregnancy (it’s pretty much expected) experimentation on children and slavery. Orphans are bought and sold. Up until the beginning of this novel, Rhine was lucky.
I don’t think I would have picked this up if I didn’t read the review from The Lost Entwife. Then I kept seeing it reviewed on many other book blogs. I stopped reading too much about what other people were saying when I knew I would read it. The topic was just too interesting. The plausibility of that future was too eerie. If something like this happened, would we degenerate to this degree? Wither really grabs onto a large part of what I like about dystopian fiction; the possibility of something bad propelling the human race into a darkness it might have trouble escaping.
Wither is the first book in DeStefano’s trilogy. The last trilogy I read, I was able to reach out and grab each book in succession. The next book in DeStefano’s series isn’t expected until February 2012. I was worried that I would be left hanging, wanting more, unsatisfied with the ending. That wasn’t the case. The ending was great. It really completed this part of Rhine’s story. You know there’s room for more, but if the story ended with Wither without the guarantee of another book, it would be okay. You’d still be left wanting to know more, like so many other books, but the end of Wither felt like an ending, not like a direct enticement to buy the next book… and that’s probably the best enticement of all. The Chemical Garden
I won’t go on too much more. I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone who’s considering reading it. If you are thinking about it, or it’s on your “to-be-read” list, read it. It has pretty much everything I want in a novel. A good plot. Character development. Action and excitement. A bit of love. A bit of hate. Good. Evil. Complex characters that you start out loving/hating and then change your mind about by the end. If you like Young Adult fantasy, science-fiction or dystopia, I think you’ll like Wither.
If you've reviewed this book, let me know and I'd be happy to add your link.