Book Review: ‘Wither’ had great potential but didn’t deliver

Book AddictsNovember 17, 2013 

  • ‘WITHER’ by Lauren DeStefano; Simon & Schuster ($9.99)

Publisher’s synopsis: By age 16, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years and females with a lifespan of 20 years, being sold off as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. 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. 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 is desperate to communicate with her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape — before her time runs out?

My take: What a great concept this book has! The potential for this story is limitless, but the author failed to find it. I wanted a little more emotion from Rhine. She was flat and bland (as were the other characters). Through the entire book, I felt as if her emotions weren’t realistic given the situation she was in. She either didn’t care enough about what mattered or cared too much about the wrong thing.

As for an emotional connection to the story, it wasn’t there. I didn’t have a preference whether Rhine got out of the house or not. I didn’t care if she lived happily ever after with her love interest, and I certainly didn’t care if she found her twin brother or not.

Despite all the cons to this book, I enjoyed the end of it (and not just because it was over). It was well written and I think fit the story. The author leads up to the sequel but ties up the current book without leaving the reader feeling cheated. I’m a sucker for a well-written bad guy, and the tension created by Vaughn, the evil father-in-law, is creepy and perfect for a villain.

My rating: Overall, it’s not a bad book. Am I going to recommend it to friends? Probably lightly. Am I going to go out and buy the second installment? Probably not.

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