Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 358 pages
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?
Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
I was disappointed by this book. Although this is a dystopian, you don't really get to see much about the world since there's such a narrow focus to the book. The whole book takes place in a mansion where Rhine has been kidnapped to be one of three wives to Linden. So we learn about clueless Linden (who I think we're supposed to feel bad for but he's 21 years old having sex with a 13 year old--ugh) and Rhine's sister wives, Cecily and Jenna. It reads more like a book about polygamy with some evil weirdness thrown in.
And the world-building, don't get me started. Where is the government? I guess it makes sense that if almost everyone is under 25 there wouldn't be anyone in charge, but then you do have the first generation, who are around 70 so I would assume they would take over. And there are people who are working, building mini-malls, doing research to figure out how to cure the virus, etc. So I was just confused about this world. They seem very focused on having babies, but why? If they need the babies for testing purposes, that makes sense, but that doesn't seem to be it. I would expect the government to be forcing girls to have babies and taking them away to test them to figure things out. But that's not what's happening, people just seem to be having babies. What? And apparently there was a big war and the only continent left standing is America. I would give you more information about that, but that's the only information that is given in the book. What?
And then there's Gabriel, the servant who is the love interest for Rhine. I just never felt like I got to know him, and he was just a bit blah. And not a lot happens in the book plot-wise, to be honest. I was actually a bit bored. I thought the premise (everyone dying so young) was intriguing, but in the end, it was just...meh.
Posted by: Pam