Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
In our brave new future, DNA engineering had resulted in a terrible genetic flaw. Women die at the age of 20, men at 25. Young girls are being abducted and forced to breed in a desperate attempt to keep humanity ahead of the disease that threaten to eradicate it.
16-year-old Rhine Ellery is kidnapped and sold as a bride to Linden, a rich young man with a dying wife. Even though he is kind to her, Rhine is desperate to escape her gilded cage - and Linden's cruel father. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in what little time she has left.

I'm currently re-reading this book as I wanted to refresh my memory before I started on the third and final instalment of The Chemical Gardens trilogy. I started last night and I've almost finished. You're thrown straight into the harsh world, that is future America with no apologies or a chance to hide it's forth comings. A dangerous world for women and a concept that feels all to real. The science behind the book makes it feel like this could be a possibility, which in a way makes it all the more heartbreaking.

DeStefano wastes no time getting started, throwing you straight into the story. There's no setting the scene, instead it integrates the back story into the first couple of chapters, dropping little snippets of Rhine's past here and there. Which, makes it a very easy book to get into. When I started reading Wither it had a kind of Beauty and the Beast feel to it, in the sense that there's a young girl locked in a mansion with an a monster of a capture and a handful of warm, loving servants. But as the book goes on and the story begins to unravel you start to connect with the House Governor, Linden, and come to realise the threat is coming from a different source entirely.

Stolen away from her life in New York,  Rhine is sold to a rich man named Linden. Along with two other girls, she is forced to marry the rich House Governor. Locked in the Florida mansion, half a world away from her home Rhine becomes close to Lindens first wife, Rose. Rose is at that fatal age of 20.

After Rose passes Linden starts to focus on his new wives. The only relief she has in this world is Gabriel one of the house attendants. The book follows Rhine as she tries to escape from her luxury prison, and Housemaster Vaughn's wicked clutches. But in doing so she discovers things within the mansion she was never meant to see. Will she be able to find away out of this new hell? Or is Linden a kinder man that she thought? Is there a chance she could be happy here? And if so, will she stay long enough to find out?

I'll admit I have a soft spot for Linden. I mean, I don't support buying wives off men in grey coats but at the same time I can think of worse people to be married to. He has a kind heart, and I feel reading this that the real monster in this story is his father, Vaughn. But at the same time I can't blame Rhine for wanting to leave, she has a family that she has to get back to. After all she didn't choose this life.

It's a story full of danger and surprises. A vivid world and written in such a way that you will find it easy to get lost within it's pages. A must read for any lover of dystopian fiction, and even if you're not, it's a great story that will make you wander...

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