Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Blaaarg. That's my new word for books like Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Books with interesting premises that turn out to be absolutely rubbish. Blaaarg.

Wither is a YA dystopian novel in which a botched attempt to perfect the human race (which is really never dealt with at all, either what precisely they were trying to do or how indeed they made a mess of it) means that girls die at 20 and boys die at 25. 16-year-old Rhine Ellery is kidnapped and sold as a bride to a rich man. She's expected to live in his mansion and bear him children. Except Rhine doesn't want to do that. She wants to escape and get back to her twin brother, Rowan.

If you read my earlier post, which I think is quite unlikely since it only went up a few hours ago and I know how many hits I've had since then, you'll know just how unimpressed I was by this book. It's the first in a trilogy, and not a damn thing happens after the first chapter. Rhine goes to parties and doesn't have sex with her husband and watches one of his other wives have a baby and watches another of them die. Actually, two of his wives die. He's really not very careful, no wonder Rhine wants to get away from him.

This book makes Twilight look eventful. And, if you recall, it takes more than 200 hundred pages for Bella to realise Edward is a vampire. That's how little happens in this novel. It's ridiculous, really. There's some pretty serious sexual tension, though. Mostly because you're waiting to see whether Linden (Rhine's husband) is going to get fed up of waiting and force her to have sex with him. FYI, he does not. Now, I don't want you to think I'm some kind of weirdo who reads books hoping that the protagonist is going to be raped (really, I'm not) but I don't see how you can write a book and set it in a world where young women are sold as brides and forced to bear children and not once in over three hundred and fifty pages so much as use the word rape. Seriously, in all those uneventful pages, there are three different types of women characterised:

- Number one - the wife who doesn't want to have sex with her husband and isn't forced to.

- Number two - the wife who does want to have sex with her husband but only because she's too naive to understand what that means.

- Number three - the wife who used to be a prostitute (although that's another word that isn't used) and has sex with her husband purely so that she can trick him into doing non-sexual things for her.

There is not one healthy, sensible relationship portrayed in this book, and that kind of worries me. But I could overlook it if the story was good (I personally don't buy into all this stuff about Stephenie Meyer trying to force Mormon values onto teenagers - Edward's a vampire, he can't have sex with Bella because he will break her). And it's not. Nothing happens. It's a book that's been written purely to introduce the world and the characters that will feature in the rest of the series, and that's not good enough. For more details on that, see my last post. But for now, all I'll say is that Wither is crap. Don't bother buying it. I've already wasted several hours reading it, there's no need for you to do so as well.

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