Reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano was certainly not easy … parts of the book are very difficult to get through, simply because of the subject matter. It’s a dark book with a very dark subject matter. But I found myself haunted by it for days after finishing it … signs of a good book that sticks with you.
I posted my official review of Wither last month, just before it was released. But here’s a look back at some of what I had to say:
Wither by Lauren DeStefano is not for the faint of heart. The book is based on a disturbing premise, and starts off with a bang, with a scene of violence that could turn the stomachs of more delicate readers. But if you’re willing to stick with this edgy and unsettling idea, you’ll find reading Wither to be a very rewarding and thought-provoking experience.
The premise and events of Wither are unsettling, and thematically are not the type of subjects often found in YA. But that’s part of what makes this such a unique and haunting book to read. The intriguing premise (and wondering where it would turn next) is really what kept me engaged as a reader and interested in turning the pages. And the concepts proposed within the book will have you contemplating them days after you’ve finished reading.
That said, the book is extremely slow paced, at times feeling lethargic. It certainly mimics the feelings Rhine and her fellow wives may be feeling — trapped in a routine and confined to a single floor in their husband’s vast mansion. It’s a strange sensation to be reading a book about these confined girls, and feeling confined by the text itself at the same time. An effective technique, for sure, but at times it made it difficult to slog through the text. More action or faster pacing might have helped move things along more smoothly.
Likewise, Rhine’s indecision sometimes made her a difficult character to stick with. For the most part, it’s clear she wants to escape — with Gabriel, to find her brother. But there are times when she’s swept up in the moment by her husband or her sister wives or the wealth and fantasy that surrounds her in this new life. Her wishy-washiness makes her real as a character, yet frustrating to follow as a reader. I’ll be curious to see where her journey takes her in the subsequent books in this intriguing new trilogy.
For the comments: Have you read Wither yet? Share YOUR thoughts in the comments below!