cirquedesgeeks: Susan: She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. ([Susan])
The cover of Wither by Lauren DeStefano; a girl in a ball gown sitting in a dark space, with circles highlighting her face, her wedding ring, and the caged bird next to her.Wither by Lauren DeStefano // Harper Collins, 2011 // Borrowed from the library // Read December 2011, reviewed January 2012 // Trigger warning: (skip) Forced marriage, underage sex and pregnancy.

By age sixteen, 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. Geneticists are seeking 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 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. 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 is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

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?


I really didn't mean to read this one - I didn't know anything about it, but I'm generally wary of YA books with girls in floaty dresses on the cover. But then the sequel was stalking me around Waterstones (Every time I went in, I had a moment of "Ooh, that book looks interesting", picked it up, and only then remembered that I'd done this before.) so I decided to exorcise it by reading the first one in the series.

... It worked!

(As an aside, I really liked the cover for this, and the way it throws subtlety to the wind to highlight all of the symbolism. It's nice, I like the design, and it is a floaty-dress cover where the floaty dress is actually appropriate!)

'I wait.' (Cut for length of review and vague, unmarked spoilers. )

In conclusion... I really enjoyed this book, much more than I expected to, but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you why. It's was fun, in a depressing sort of way, despite its flaws, and I guess that's enough!

If you like this you might like:
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood or The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers if you like dystopian/post-apocalyptic futures where baby-production is the major societal concern and role for women, and the reactions people have to this.

  • In Time if you like the aspect of "genetic manipulation means we're all going to die really young!"


  • 1: I appreciate that it's not anyone's responsibility to educate anyone else, but I'm still not sure why Jenna and Rhine didn't explain about the truth - ANY of the truth - to Linden when they had the chance. I do wonder how the story would've gone if they had.

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    Cirque des Geeks

    About Us

    Welcome to Cirque Des Geeks! We are a trio of geeks who review books, manga, comics, tv shows, and films as the mood takes us. Our trio comprises Sam (the fez-wearing philosopher), Susan (the book-addled librarian), and Tonks (the shape-changing scientist). Our interests are wide and varied, but generally come back to science fiction and fantasy in all their forms.

    Sam and Tonks can also be found working with Black Stump Films (On Vimeo and Youtube) making short films.

    We do not have a formal posting schedule, but the current goal is at least two posts per week. If you wish to be kept in the loop of what's happening, please follow us on twitter - [personal profile] cirquedesgeeks.

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