Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings. Editor's recommendation.
Although it was called a modern, YA version of "The Handmaid's Tale", I didn't really identify with this book like I did with Margaret Atwood's Sci-Fi classic. Although the plots have a lot of parallels, Atwood's book is steeped in the religious right of the United States, while Wither is concerned with genetic manipulation gone wrong. The two don't really corrolate, at least not for me, and I was rather confused over the result. The society that is created is strange. Why are girls commodities? If everyone dies at a young age why are there marriages with multiple wives instead of farms where eggs and sperm are harvested and forcibly carried to term in order to perpetuate the species and provide for research? There were many questions that made the world of this book seem rather copied and not well thought out. However, once the world was made up DeStefano worked well within the framework. I loved the character of Rhine and her reactions to the situations she was placed in. She maintained a strong character and drive throughout her situations, and she drew you in to the story when the world failed. The plot was rather unremarkable, containing yet another YA love triangle complicated by the multiple marriage, but Rhine's voice and the characterization of the other players served to keep it fresher than it probably should have been. I'm not sure if I'm completely invested in the story enough to buy a sequel, but I don't regret reading this book as a one-off.