Why I read it: I heard a lot of buzz about this book all over the blogosphere, especially about the ultra-gorgeous cover. I also loved how it was a dystopia, and I was interested to see how she was going to handle the issue of polygamy.
What I liked: Wither certainly lives up to its cover. The book just ‘feel’ like the cover, rich but a little bit empty, dying and trapped but with a bit of hope. I loved the range of emotions that Rhine went through and how they all felt realistic. We see this new world through her eyes and we can’t help but both love it and hate it as she does.
I loved the other characters, the sister wives especially. Jenna and Cecily were both so different and well rounded characters. I would have liked to see a bit more of Gabrielle, the main love interest, but I really liked Linden, her husband. He was such a great character, so innocent and fragile, the sort of person you want to hate but can’t help loving. In short, I really felt for all the characters, stuck in this terrible situation.
What I disliked: A lot of people have brought up issues of believability with this story and I partially agree. I’m perfectly willing to accept the fact that a virus kills everyone at a certain age and that North America is the only continent that survived (it’s called ‘suspension of disbelief’ guys… plus, I have a thesis that the other continents still do exist and Rhine just doesn’t know) but I don’t understand how polygamy and kidnapping necessarily follow from that setup. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to sell off the less beautiful girls rather than killing them? And instead of kidnapping, couldn’t they just choose brides from an orphanage, like Linden assumes they do?
At times I found it a little hard to understand Linden and his father, Vaughn. I loved how Linden was ignorant of everything that was going on, but he obviously still knew he was in a polygamous marriage. How did polygamy ever change from wrong to right? We’re not given a very solid idea of the history of polygamy and how acceptable it is. Also, Housemaster Vaughn seemed like a super evil character and I was never sure what he was doing and why. In short, I guess all my dislikes are just questions I had that weren’t really answered. Hopefully I’ll get more answers from book two, Fever.
From a Christian Perspective: Considering that this book features a polygamous marriage, it was much cleaner than I expected. She and her ‘husband’ never actually do ‘consummate’ their marriage, but Linden does sleep with both of the sister wives. Sex is talked about once or twice. Rhine kisses both Gabriel and Linden, but these kisses are fairly clean. There’s very little swearing, except for one quick occurrence at the beginning of the book. There are some slightly graphic descriptions of childbirth and illness but nothing too bad, I don’t think.
To buy or not to buy: I may well pick up a copy, whenever I actually get around to ordering something on Amazon. I think this is a book that I would read again, and I’ll certainly read the sequel, Fever.