Angel books and dystopian novels seem to be my current weak spot. Although, based on the number of these being published right now, I don’t think I’m the only one with this weak spot.
Wither was a dystopian. But it didn’t have to be. It could have been written as a fantasy, or as a contemporary. The dystopia is the world it takes place in, but the story happens in a house. A giant house with gardens and pools and a mini golf course and thousand other wonderful and beautiful things that are there to hide the fact that the house is a prison.
I think that was my favourite thing about this book. There was this whole world with a mystery and a problem but Rhine, the main character, wasn’t that worried about it. Sure, it came up a lot, and it was a factor to the situation and it wasn’t ignored or anything. But the real plot was about Rhine’s quest for her freedom.
Rhine lives with her twin brother in New York until the day that she taken, grabbed right off the street and sold to be a rich man’s wife. In the world she lives in, wives are a precious commodity as women only live until the are twenty years old. Not that men have it much better, they live until they are twenty-five.
She is then forced to enter a polygamous marriage with Linden, an extremely rich man who lives in a grandiose mansion in Florida.
There are three main relationships explored in this book. Rhine’s with Linden, Rhine’s with Gabriel, and Rhine’s with her sister-wives Cecily and Jenna. And it is this last relationship that was my favourite.
Sure, Gabriel was intriguing and I can’t wait to know more about the relationship between him and Rhine. And, yes, Linden was complex and I loved how he affected Rhine’s motivations and wishes. I loved that he wasn’t completely evil or completely good. In a way he was just as trapped as his wives were, he just didn’t know it.
But Jenn and Cecily and Rhine and the sister-hood that they formed were the best part of this book. They were what kept me reading until late in the night. They’re relationship to each other and to their situation is so complex and absorbing.
Especially Cecily. She is so young and sheltered about the world. In the real world her story would be tragic and illegal and disturbing. In Wither, it is normal and she is happy about it…until certain events force her to grow up and see certain truths. And that is also tragic. The way her story ends in this book is both sad and hopeful and I do hope we see a lot more of Cecily in the next books.
Rhine’s desire for freedom is tested again and again and she discovers more about the house, her husband, and her sister-wives.
Also, there is a certain servant named Gabriel with whom she shares a connection.
I liked how she always had the desire to return to her brother but there was so much going on, in the house, and in the world, that made her sometimes like where she was, or at least be content. After all, does escaping the lap of luxury really matter when you only have four years left to live?
Does freedom really matter when your death is so certain?
Wither forces the reader to ask themselves these questions and more. I urge you to pick up a copy on March 22nd. You wont regret it.