Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

“But now an eerie silence fills the floor. It’s the silence I imagine in the rest of the world, the silence of an endless ocean and uninhabitable islands, a silence than can be seen from space.”

Is that not such a pretty passage? I’ll admit that when the members of my school’s book club voted Wither as our first book to be read, I was a tad disappointed. I assumed it would be an averagely-written, run-of-the-mill dystopian novel. But Lauren DeStefano exceeded my expectations, especially with her writing – it’s fluid and flows well, and the book contains some straight up beautiful writing.

Wither possesses several potential plot pitfalls. A dystopian novel in which women live to the age of 20 and men live to age of 25, it also includes polygamy, rape, child pregnancy, etc. While some individuals may have found this material offensive, I thought that DeStefano did a decent job of showing what was necessary and leaving the rest to readers’ imaginations. The story itself is fast-paced and action-filled to the point where I wanted to read it despite my massive amount of homework, and there are several themes I cannot wait to discuss in book club: Stockholm syndrome, the role of technology and medicine in society, the possibility of polygamy, etc.

Wither remains far from flawless, however. The biggest fault I found while reading was the poor world-building. It never solidified the setting in a way that made it really real – there is no foundation for this book’s premise present in contemporary society. There were a few events that stood out saliently as plot devices, and they detracted from the quality of the story.

You can tell from my rating that in this case, the pros outweighed the cons. While not everyone will enjoy Wither, I’m betting that a large percentage of the teenaged female overall population will.

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8 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

8 responses to “Wither by Lauren DeStefano

  1. Glad this gets 4 stars from you. It’s on my tbr and I keep hearing good things about it.

  2. Wither is one of my favorite books. I agree with you on the fact that it doesn’t meet reality very well due to its setting. Still, Lauren DeStefano’s poetic writing kept me glued to the book. I also love the thought of it–on how society would be due to medicine and technology and on people’s faults.

    I just read the 2nd book and it’s as good as the first. There’s still a problem with how the setting is delivered, though. But it still had all those twists that just make you excited for what’s to come next that you want to read more.

    Well, that’s just my opinion. If you’ve already read the 2nd book, I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did. I you haven’t, I hope you will. 🙂

    • I see what you mean Abi, as a dystopian novel it does delve into topics such as medicine and technology pretty well despite its far-reaching setting. Thanks for reading and commenting, I have not read the second book yet but because of your recommendation of it I will!

  3. Serena

    Hey Thomas!
    I think I told you this before at some point, but I’m a major stalker of your blog, love it! Also, hope you don’t mind but I recommended your blog on my Hunch page. If you do mind, I’ll promptly delete it.
    Cheers 🙂

  4. Scribble Script

    I read this book a few weeks back and I don’t think I would have given it a 4/5 stars, probably a 3/5, in my opinion. I agree with how the setting was a bit drab, the storm scene was not as strong as it could have been. The characters were nice, I enjoyed seeing how Cecily (the youngest wife) changed through out the book and began adapting to the enviorment of the Mansion. I wish we got to learn about Gabriel’s character more. I’m hoping more will be explained in the second book, have you read it yet?

    • I understand your reasoning. I have not read the second book yet, but I am hoping to see Gabriel’s character developed just like you are. Please update me on your perspective of the series once you read the second book (if you decide to)!

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