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review 2017-12-02 01:05
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Wither - Lauren DeStefano

Before and after reading this book, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews, calling this book inappropriate for Young Adult. First off, I want to point out that the author does not get to pick where her book is marketed to, that is up to the publisher, so do not get mad at Lauren. Second of all. though there are some mature content, it never goes into graphic details. If you're 13 and over, I'm sure you've seen worse at school. (Also if you think this book is inappropriate for YA, you haven't read many YA!)

Of course, I always encourage parents to read books first if you are unsure if your child should read them. I personally think we don't give younger people enough credit.

Now onto the review. I did like this book. I liked it quite a bit, but I could not put myself in the main character's shoes, so that might have took some of my enjoyment away. I felt like the plot was unique at the time of reading it; I had not read many books similar to that. I felt like the writing style pretty great. It flowed well. I was able to read the book fast and without any trouble.

I've noticed some authors dumb down a lot of things, especially in YA (and middle grade) I felt like there was none of that in this book. I think it is clear Lauren most likely wrote this for herself because it was a story she needed to get out of her head.

There was a character that was too young to be a wife, but in this world girls got no choice in the matter if they were of child barring age, and at 13 Cecily sadly could have children. It is hard to read about a child bride. I know that it was more normal a long time ago, and in some countries and religions, there are still child brides.

That all being said, I would not call the husband in this story a pedophile; it is just the world he finds himself in. He did seem like a decent person, despite everything. He really did seem to love his former wife and seemed like he was growing fond of some of his new wives.

I have nothing against polygamy when everyone is of a consensual age. It doesn't hurt me if you want to be in love and married to a bunch of people! The more power to you.

It was just hard to read about it in a setting like this, where the girls are forced and most at such a young age.

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review 2017-10-16 19:15
Wither - Lauren DeStefano
In this dystopian universe females only live to be 20 years old and males live to be 25 before a mysterious virus kills them. Caused by a failed experiment to create a more perfect human race, only those of the first generation are immune to this virus, and live to see old age.

Young girls are disappearing, stolen away to be killed or to become unwilling polygamous wives of wealthy men and bear as many children as they can before they die. Rhine is taken, thrown into a van with several other girls, sedated and transported far from home to live in a secured mansion with four other sister wives.
I had a few issues with this book so I will start with some of those. Rhine is not the type of heroine who will fight tooth and nail for what she wants. It was a little frustrating to me when she would simply go along with everything that was happening to her. I wanted her to ask more questions, challenge authority, show some fire.
Her husband, Linden, is incredibly oblivious to everything. He was deeply in love with his first wife, devastated when she died, but seemed to move on fairly quickly with three more wives to take her place and warm his bed. Rhine has so many opportunities to help him see what was truly going on, instead she says nothing.
Gabriel didn't have much of a personality. He seemed content to simply live out the rest of his few remaining years as a servant admiring Rhine from afar. I can't really say that I was a big fan of his.

I really wanted to learn more about the virus, to understand how and why it works the way it does. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get all the answers I hoped for.
On to the things I liked about this book. The story line was different enough to keep me interested. I haven't read any books similar to this lately, so I enjoyed the change. All of the sister wives had interesting personalities, and most were likeable. I enjoyed learning more about them, their backgrounds, histories and what made them all so different.
DeStefano's writing style is beautiful, and there is so much that I want to know more about. I hope to see more world building in the next books of the series. When a book is frustrating, engaging, nicely written, and makes me think, I just have to continue on with it to see, where exactly, it will go.
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review 2016-11-04 05:23
Another dystopian teen meh
Wither (Chemical Garden) - Lauren DeStefano

It wasn't BAD. It wasn't good in any different or outstanding way either. Too many of it's type crowding the shelves, and some of them are decidedly better.


There were some nice bits on the relative strengh of the realtionships betweend sister wives and wife and husband, and there was some ring of truth in the blurriness between a self preserving act, compassion and true caring.


Most lacked any meat for me, and since it was set up as a first volume and little else, it did little to satisfy me in any respect unless I choose to follow up, and I really don't intend to.

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text 2016-04-02 22:37
Reading progress update: I've read 57%.
Wither - Lauren DeStefano

I'm struggling with the story so far. It's dystopian YA where, after scientist manged to create perfect genetically engineered embryos, the offspring of these people have a shorter lifespan. Women live to be 20, and men 25. This is supposedly due to a virus that sets in, but it sounds much more like something in their genetics. 


First issue: It seems like all humans that aren't the first generation (the engineered embryos) are descendants from this first generation. Meaning no one had children the natural way, so to say. Which, of course, is illogical. Because this society originates from the one we live in today, and there are several groups that would never agree to make this change so easily. Like some religious groups wouldn't shift to this way of procreation. 


Now, the world we're in this book is set in the future, after a third world war. 

All we were taught of geography was that the world had once been made up of seven continents and several countries, but a third world war demolished all but North America, the continent with the most advanced technology. The damage was so catastrophic that all that remains of the rest of the world is ocean and uninhabitable islands so tiny that they can’t even be seen from space.




I educate myself on the polar ice caps, vaporized long ago by warfare, and an explorer named Christopher Columbus who proved the earth was round.

Apart from getting basic history wrong - Columbus did not prove the earth was round, this was known long before his time - there are several things about this that are wrong. First of all though I need to mention that the heroine grew up in Manhattan and is now living in Florida. The thing is, say there was a third world war. Enemies of the U.S. would most likely hit cities like New York, D.C., and other bigger cities first. I seriously doubt New York would be habitable if there'd been a third world war. 


Anyway, let's say New York survived and went about unscathed. Then if the ice caps had melted, it would be underwater. The same would go for parts of Florida. It's something a quick google search would tell you. War or climate catastrophe, Manhattan wouldn't be a place for the living. I could've let it slip, but the heroine is constantly going on about her life from Manhattan, and it bothers me each time she does.


Then we have the concept that young women are kidnapped and sold into polygamys marriages simply to have the man's offspring. It's apparently incredibly important to have offspring in this world where everyone will die by the time they are 20/25 (depending on their gender). This theme isn't explored enough. Let's face it, if you put a group of people from this age group on a remote island without a future, procreation wouldn't be on their minds. Neither would it be as important to these people as this book makes it sound. The parents won't be the ones to raise the child, seeing how they will likely be dead before the child is over ten years old. 


So yes, I'm struggling with this. On one side, the general story is overall okay, but the endless errors in basic facts and the world-building are making truly difficult to enjoy it. 


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review 2016-01-07 20:23
Amy Miles: Wither
Wither (The Withered Series) (Volume 1) - Amy Miles

In the start of a new series, Amy Miles takes the reader to America two weeks after the world has gone to hell:

Avery has been sitting by her mother's hospital bed knowing that she is not going to wake up but she has no where else to go. The streets are crawling with the Withered ones and though they do not seem to be the brain eating zombies of the TV shows and books Avery still does not trust them and their eerie shuffling around. Avery has learned that right now the Withered are not to be feared but the gangs who now own the streets and she knows that it is only a matter or time before the hospital is taken as well. She has heard some stranger rumours about what the humans left alive are looking for, blood. Blood of those who are still alive they believe that blood will save them, and Avery is about to see first hand the lengths they will go to get it. Don't fear the Withered, Fear the Humans.

I was first attracted to this book due to the cover as it portrayed this book as a darker read and while that may be true on some instances I never really felt the suspense or thrills that I think this book should have contained. Yes there are some action scenes but they were not overly descriptive and due to the fact that Avery is a calm and collective character (most of the time) we never get a sense of urgency from her. I found the world building really lacking in this book. I'm not really sure how the Withered ones came about, i think it was first a disease and then people tried to fix it but that mutated people into zombies, but not zombies. I'm really not sure how far the mutation went or if that is just rumour, like the humans need to find fresh blood. So i guess you could say I was a bit confused.

I think my favourite part of the book is that Miles decided to focus more on the degradation of humans and what we would do to each other in this situation other than the withered ones aka zombies. I think Humans as a whole can be way more scarier than any zombie can be. I mean a zombie people feel they can just kill, they are already, technically dead, but a human can be more cold calculated and we see glimpse of this cold calculation throughout the book. Personally I wish there was more.

Avery at times is a hard character to like but yet you like her all the same. She is mistrustful of everyone even people who have proved themselves to her time and time again. She just has learned to question everything and everyone around her but I think that this stems from before the world went to hell and not after. Avery's past is still a bit of a mystery as you only get bits and pieces of it throughout the book but it is enough to know she was not happy then. On the flip side of this is that Avery is not whiny character and is able to take care of herself. She may not make the best choices at times but she makes her own based upon the information she has and she is smart as she seems to take everything into perspective that is happening around her.
I really have to applaud Miles for not taking the easy way out and having a happy ending, which lets be honest really shouldn't occur in this type of novel. Miles really does show some major aspects of how we change when faced with survival and some people are just better at it than others when being civilized is really no longer an option.
Even though this was a short read, I still think that Miles could have done a better job with the world building. There is a bit of a lull in the middle of the book, which I don't think was needed as we didn't really receive an additional information about the characters or the world that Miles has built. There is no question that Miles was able to entertain me and keep it that way to the end with her characters and her desire to keep the book  real as to what happens to us as humans when the world goes to shit. I look forward to see where Miles decides to take this series (at least I hope there are more books in the works).

If You Like This,
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