Wither-Lauren DeStefano

The world is ending. But how is the world falling to its doom? Well, according to Lauren DeStefano, it’s our own damn fault. And we are whimpering on the edge of oblivion.

“Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive.”
So yeah, not the best book blurb, but to the point. Sort of. The book opens up with Rhine in a van with a bunch of other girls, who are then paraded in front of a rich young who picks our heroine and two other girls. We follow Rhine and her sister wives through their different adjusting mechanisms. For Rhine, she plans to not accept her new luxurious captive life, but fights to escape.

DeStefano’s writing if easy to read and flows very nicely. Her descriptions are nice and Rhine’s POV is well written, I just couldn’t feel to sorry for her. I felt that, though she was taken against her will, that there wasn’t enough struggle. I felt her defiance but that was it. The two action-type sequences of her escape didn’t pull me in. I just read the words and turned the pages.

Rhine felt a little forced in an attempt to be made set apart from her sister wives. The oldest is distant and depressed, the youngest eager to please. Rhine is given the condition heterochromia iridis, where she has one blue eye and one brown eye, and her name sets her apart. In the book, she discovers that once upon a time in a land called Germany, there was river called the Rhine and imagines that it is probably underwater and the river is free of its confines of land. This drives Rhine even more to escape. I can understand DeStefano’s choice to make her hero standout, to not blend in, but I felt that the use of heterochromia iridis and the imagery of her name might have been a bit much.

Ah! But then she must chose between her handsome kind and clueless husband or the handsome kind and a little less clueless servant. Of course a love triangle has to be put in place. It’s young adult fiction law. At least I didn’t revert to an angst ridden teenager reading about her mixed emotions.

For all of these slightly negative things, I thought book read nice. It’s a unique story to tell and I enjoyed reading it, but I felt the world DeStefano came up with just sort of gave up. We tampered in God’s domain and now we are paying for it. Let’s lay down and die. I guess if the world is going to end, I say bring on the zombies.