Author: Lauren DeStefano
About the Book: (From Goodreads)
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
This book grabbed me from the first page. I was in awe of this world that DeStefano created. I was emotionally invested immediately as the reader is introduced to Rhine, locked away in the back of a dark van with a bunch of other girls, all terrified and unsure of their futures.
I love the idea of a society that is so advanced that it has this amazing technology but it can't find a cure for a disease that was developed as a result of it. I know there are some people who find that unbelievable, that there is this disease that they can't get rid of with the technology as advanced as it is, but aren't we still looking for the cure for the common cold, cancer, diabetes, AIDS, and that's just to name a few.
I may be a little biased because I have a twin sister, but I loved Rhine's connection with her brother. It creates a realistic drive in her to keep trying to get away from the mansion, but it also provides the reader with an understanding as to why she cares so much about her sister wives and why she sometimes doesn't take advantage of certain opportunities that present themselves. In her brother's absence, she fills his void with the presence of these new females in her life and she truly cares about them.
The relationship between Rhine and Linden, her forced husband, was believable to me. I could understand how she would find her feelings confusing over time as she realized how in the dark and naive he was. At first, Rhine hates Linden, but after awhile she pities him, and finally she even begins to have small feelings for him. If you grow up locked away in a mansion, only being exposed to certain people, you're going to believe that is the way life is unless you're told otherwise. Linden's father kept things from him, so he didn't have an understanding of the way that life really was. I truly felt that he believed he was in love with these girls and that they had chosen to be wives. I couldn't bring myself to hate him, I just felt sorry for him like Rhine did.
The sister wives dynamic was fascinating. Jenna was fascinating because she was a mystery. Even when we find things out about her, her behavior still doesn't make complete sense and I liked that. It's one of the reasons that I like reading a book from one character's perspective rather than jumping back and forth. We only knew what she decided to tell Rhine which made her that much more compelling.
I loved how the book ended. I am excited to read the sequel. I have a few idea on how things might wind down, but not how she will get it there. I would definitely recommend it. I borrowed this copy from a friend and I have added it to the list of books I must own.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars