“This is the very best dystopia YA plot I have ever encountered! DeStefano is yet another author that should be watched, because I guarantee her following works will catch the intrigue of millions of readers. If you just read the summary on the back jacket of the book, you'll be caught in the carefully ploted web of DeStefano's imagination put to life on the page. To think of a life where you would only live until 20 or 25 depending on your gender, and the ensuing chaos that would spin its web around the world is pure genius. Add in a general acceptance of polygamy and you've got ambrosia for the mind! This book is not for the faint of heart, and truly I found myself astonished that they put this in the YA genre due to its content. However, I think matured readers within that target audience will become infatuated just as I am now. Again, parents, read the book yourself first before handing it over to your kids. This books is not suited for the young ones at all given its sexual and traumatic plot. However, it shouldn't be discounted either--not by a long shot. Highly recommended and five stars to DeStefano!”Laura B wrote this review Sunday, April 3, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Extremely well written and haunting in its possibility. The theory that polygamy would come back into fashion with a shorter life expectancy is very intriguing. I can't wait for the next book. ”Jessica wrote this review Friday, April 1, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Lauren DeStefano really has a captivating narrative voice. You never get bored with her story. Wither is a beautiful story of escape to freedom filled with fear and love and loss. I cannot wait to read the books that follow!”Jessi Q wrote this review Wednesday, August 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“In a world where women grow sick and perish by the age of twenty, they are bought and kidnapped, forced into polygamous marriages as breeding stock in hopes that natural births will prolong the lifespans of the next generations. I honestly didn’t know what to make of this book. It was shocking, disturbing, and aroused feelings of genuine anger in me. Women’s rights have come a long way in the past hundred years, but in this book, they’ve become nonexistent. Don’t get me wrong. It was a captivating read. Beautifully crafted, and engaging. The things that these poor girls were forced to go through were truly horrifying.
We’re introduced to beautiful blonde, heterochromiatic-eyed Rhine and her twin brother, Rowan who were both orphaned and living in their deceased parents house. Both working, and trying to make enough to get by. One day, Rhine answers an advertisement in the newspaper and is snatched up by a Gatherer and thrown into a van filled with other young girls close in age. The unfortunate ones who are not chosen are simply killed and thus begins the tale of sister-wives Rhine, Jenna and thirteen year old Cecily who are to be married off to Linden. Cecily, childlike in body and nature is simply happy enough to have a home to call her own. Jenna has resigned herself to death, and doesn’t really give a rat’s ass whether or not she lives or dies, as her sisters were in the van with her and were unceremoniously slaughtered after not making the cut. Rhine isn’t waiting around to be saved, and plans for escape. She takes action to save herself, without being too single minded or brash, rather she thoughtfully builds several escape plans in an attempt to save her own liberty.She spends a large portion of the book cozying up to Linden, earning his trust and planning for escape with the attendant, Gabriel who she has become closer with since she was first placed in Headmaster Vaughn and Governor Linden’s care.
I only have two issues with this book. And honestly, they aren’t even really that big of a deal. It’s just.. why?
1. Why did she wait for a storm to try to escape? Why didn’t she just bust a window, and peace out?
2. The puking. What is it with these girls and blowing chunks? It seems like every other day someone’s gonna fish their heads outta toilet.
Those things aside, this book left me speechless. And I can’t wait to see what happens to Rhine in the next installment.”
“I loved it!! I'm starving for more!!! I cant wait!!”Annie wrote this review Tuesday, March 29, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My rating: 4.5”Aleksandra N wrote this review Tuesday, March 29, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Rhine has grown up in a world full of gloom, hopelessness, and death…lots and lots of death. Men die at 25, and women die at 20. Lauren has created this world so well that you can’t help but feel all the different emotions that Rhine feels throughout the story. You feel her sadness and despair over her brother. Her hatred and pity for her husband Linden. Her hope when she gets to know Gabriel.
The story doesn’t change settings very often, doesn’t have hardy any action, and the romance is very limited…but I still couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know more about Rhine’s life and her releationship with these people that she was forced to make her family. Rhine is one of the youngest people in the story, but by far the strongest. When everything is stacked against her she somehow still manages hope of being free again. I was so sucked into Rhine’s life, that when I finished I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters.
“What happens next?”
“What is she going to do now?”
“How are Cecily and Liden taking this?”
These were the questions that I have been asking myself all day, and these are the questions I hope to find answers to in the next book. I definitely can’t wait!
“While I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this book, I had no problem finishing it. I wanted more though. I wanted more details on the whys-- why this was happening and why kidnap young girls off the street as the orphanages were full of them. Hopefully, the next book will answer a lot of these. The first couple of chapters were amazing and quite satisfying. DeStefano did an excellent job of world building and fleshing out the characters. The characters were real and engaging. Their emotions were so intense that you ached for them. That said once I got about 2/3’s of the way through, it began to drag for me. While there were moments that were predictable, it was twisty enough to ensure that I read the next book.”Lisa Richards/alterlisa/http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/ wrote this review Friday, March 25, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I was so hesitant to start reading this book. I was extremely uncomfortable with the premise and wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the book because of it. One thing I did know is that I wasn't going to buy it(despite the gorgeous cover that I absolutely love!), so I decided I'd handle whether I'd read it or not if my library got it. But it came up on PulseIt I was once again faced with the choice of whether or not I wanted to read it. Finally, after reading many reviews I decided to take a chance.
What I found was, the polygamous marriage was not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. Now, that's not saying that it wasn't uncomfortable or that I agree with such marriage. But, I was able to enjoy the story despite it. For one thing, the author wasn't pushing it, that it was right and wonderful, she also wasn't exactly condemning it either. It was more like she was using it as a plot devise for the world which she had created. As I read, I realized I had read many stories with polygamous marriages, and that this wasn't anything "new". Jacob and Rachel and Leah, Solomon and his many wives, in fact many stories in the Bible deal with polygamy(the only difference is that the Bible says it is wrong, more that it happened and showing the consequences of it) it was even some fairy tales I had read as a child. I guess I said all that to say, I didn't exactly like it, but it didn't turn me off the book.
What I did dislike was the slow pace. The writing was beautiful and the characters were extremely well developed and their personalities well thought out. But it seemed that for the majority of the book nothing happened. Now, in a way that was a good thing. It gave time for the characters to develop so well, but there were times while I was reading it, and I started counting the number of pages I had left, the number of chapters I had left, wondering when she would finally run away! (*spoiler* which didn't happen until the last two or three chapters *end spoiler*) While there were a couple "exciting" parts throughout that kept me reading, for the most part the plot didn't advance at all.
As far as world building goes, I know a lot of people thought it was badly developed and that the world wasn't believable at all and that was the worst part of the book. I personally didn't think the world building was so bad.(as long as I don't think about it too much) Now granted, it wasn't all that wonderful either. There are some books that the world that was created is the best part of the book, other books, like this one, the characters that live in it are more important, so the world is a background character. Of course, we all know the best books are those with great worlds and great characters, but ones with underdeveloped, unexplained worlds are definitely not the worst. So I guess, I wish she had spent more time developing the world, but on the whole it didn't bother me.
The characters really stood out for me. They were all written like real people, with their own flaws and qualities that made them unique and interesting. I found myself sad when Rose died, when I had barely known her for a few chapters! *spoiler* And when Jenna died I was devastated not only because she was a great character, but because of how well her dying had been written and how Rhine and Cecily reacted. *end spoiler* Gabriel, Rowan, and Linden were also all interesting male characters. I absolutely loved how Linden was written not the normal way a male lead is written, he wasn't buff and strong and extremely handsome, and he had many flaws and was not the leader he should be. I also really liked how their romance progressed that when Rhine realized she was falling in love with him she didn't just give up, she kept fighting it, because she wanted to be free. She understood that if she fell in love with him in this marriage that it would ultimately be a lie, because she hadn't the choice to go into it. And Gabriel! :D I love him! That's all I can say. Same with Rowan, I've always wished I had an older brother(why oh why did I have to get stuck with a younger one?) and he seems like such a great older brother(I know he's her twin, but I bet you he's the older one! lol) and I feel so bad for him that Rhine was taken from him.
Lastly, one thing I noticed and loved(thanks to a certain Lit. teacher who will not be named) was the extreme case of Plato's Cave! Rhine's obviously been outside and once she is put into the cave(aka the mansion) she hates it and wants to escape, but others don't understand why because they have fallen into the shadows. Many are just too oblivious to even realize they are in the cave. Others don't understand how the outside world is better. I mean, they have holograms(shadows anyone?) of the outside world that they can enjoy, what makes the world outside the cave better? *spoiler* When Rhine and Gabriel finally escape and they go to the ocean to get a boat to sail up the coast back to Rowan, Gabriel sees the real ocean and comments that he had forgotten what the ocean was like, it was much more than he remembered. I was thrilled that he had exited the cave and realized what he had been missing before, it was one of my favorite parts of the book! *end spoiler* So that just really stood out to me a lot in the book, so yeah I thought I'd mention it.
Premise - 2/5
Characters - 5/5
Writing Style - 4/5
Story - 3/5
Realistic - 2/5
Enjoyment - 3/5
Average Rating - 3.1
My Rating - 3
Recommend? Yes, if the premise interests you, don't read just because you love the cover! lol
Cover - As has already been mentioned many times. I adore the cover. The girl(Rhine) in the wedding dress, the symbolism of the bird in the cage, the circles pointing out key elements and things to remember and just everything about it! I could look at it and look at it!”