Author: Lauren DeStefano
Year Published: 2011
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Synopsis: 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?
Review: I have been interested in this series for a while, but it hadn't made its way to the top of my reading list. When I saw it in a used bookstore for only a few dollars, I had to get it.
I really enjoyed the world building in this book. There was just enough to give the reader a good idea of the outside world's situation, while keeping the reader out of the loop with the protagonist. In this world, women die at 20 and men at 25. The first generation of modified humans are now old, so there is a large gap in the middle of the age range. The technology is interesting, including a lot of use of holograms. I am excited for the sequel, to see what else this world has.
Rhine ends up as a wife to a rich man destined to die around when she does. He also marries two other girls at the same time. At first I thought each of these sister wives were cliche, but as the story progressed their personalities really rounded out. It was similar to meeting someone and assuming their traits, only to learn more about them overtime. The reader gets to experience this with Rhine as she gets closer to her sister wives.
I enjoy YA novels where the protagonist is faking or acting. The most well known example right now would be Katniss in The Hunger Games and her confusing relationship with Peeta. I always like when the reader can compare a character's thoughts to actions. It is something that a book does so much better than a movie ever could. This book does it as well, with Rhine putting on an act for her husband and his father.
I enjoyed the minor characters as well. Gabriel and the rest of the staff reminded me of the help in Downton Abbey. Vaughn, Rhine's new father-in-law, is very creepy. Although, I am unsure of his true intentions. It will be interesting to see how his character plays out.
I am excited to read more in this series. The next book is already out and it is called Fever. I give this book a 4/5.