REVIEW: Wither by Lauren DeStefano


Summary from Goodreads

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years–leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek 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 more children. When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet 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 has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

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?


With huge dystopian elements and brilliant writing, Wither seemed very promising and I was quick to think it was like The Hunger Games; and although there are many similarities, this is no The Hunger Games. 

Set in futuristic America, Wither explores the ideas of what would happen if we were to find a cure for cancer. For something that affects a lot of us nowadays (most people know someone who has suffered), DeStefano has shown us that, actually, things could be a lot worse. In this world, the lifespan of people has dramatically dropped; men live to 25, women live until 20. In this thought-proving read, DeStefano has wrenched readers hearts from their bodies and made them feel exactly what the characters are experiencing.

Going back to The Hunger Games, I thought that, at the start, the way in which DeStefano wrote from Rhine’s point of view was very similar to the way that Collins wrote from Katniss’ perspective. Rhine had been thrown in to this crazy situation and torn from her old life. It was very easy for the reader to feel sympathetic because from a young age was responsible for her and her twin brother’s life. She had a lot of pent up anger and it was easy to understand her feelings from the narrative.
I was horrified by the character of Cecily. Being the same age as me, it was frightening to see the way she was. If that was me, I know that I would act completely different. Cecily was a complete antithesis of Rhine which their interactions with each other more dramatic and it really added tension.
Linden was the House Governor and husband to the sister wives- Jenna, Rhine and Cecily. He only wanted his wives to be happy and, having not experienced the things that the girls had, he was a little bit clueless to their needs. But this made him the character that he was and I can see why many people would choose Team Linden over Team Gabriel- Gabriel being the servant that Rhine felt an attraction to.

This novel is full of amazing world building and DeStefano really tells the readers the nitty gritty details that makes them a part of the world. I found the illusions interesting. They’re intriguing and show the reader that the world that has been written about is very fake.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have already borrowed the second one from my library because I am still living in the world that has been created, even after putting down the book.

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Number of Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Acquired: Borrowed from library

Lucy Powrie

Lucy Powrie is a blogger, YouTuber and author from the UK. When she's not reading, she enjoys cuddling guinea pigs and eating Oreo chocolate, but let's be real: she's mostly always reading.

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  1. Reply

    Lectus

    22 March, 2013

    I really liked this first book in the series. But then, like 8 months had passed before I got my hands to book #2 and when I started it, I just couldn’t connect to the characters anymore 🙁

  2. Reply

    Lesley

    22 March, 2013

    I’m glad you liked this so much. I read it a while back and didn’t like it at all, but I couldn’t figure out why. I’ve seen so many good reviews of it that maybe I ought to give it another go, it probably just didn’t live up to my expectations of it!

  3. Reply

    Hilda K

    24 March, 2013

    It surprised me how much I enjoyed this book. I didn’t feel much about Gabriel sadly, but Linden! I honestly have no idea why I like him so much haha. Maybe it’s his naive side that I found really endearing. 😉 Cecily’s actions horrified me too – she’s too young to act like that. >.< Anyway, wonderful review! 🙂 I’m glad that you liked this book so much, Lucy! <3

  4. Reply

    xxGEORGIExx @ BrainStorm Books

    2 May, 2013

    I agree with Lesley – I read it about this time last year (although the review took much longer to post) and just didn’t connect with it. This may be due to the fact that I read it on a 4 hour long bus ride more than the actual content 🙂

    Great review as usual!

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