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.
I've seen so many fantastic reviews for this book that last week I just though "What the heck, time to waste the last of my meager wages on this lovely book,". I loved it. What attracted me most, besides the reviews, was the beautiful cover. this has to be the most ebautiful book cover to have ever come out, really. The model looks like Rhine is supposed to, and the bird shows how she feels in the book. The colours really push the dystopian idea, with the murky greens showing this bland world.
I have a thing about dystopian books <3
DeStefano has really given me a dystopian world I can believe. After reading books like The Forest Of Hands and Teeth, and even The Hunger Games felt a little far-fetched (not to say that made me love it any less.) DeStefano's world is beautifully described, making it futuristic but believable. I hope we get more information on the virus though, as the book continues, I really don't want to see Rhine or Gabriel die.
I loved those characters, I hated some characters, I hated to love some others. We have Rhine, our lovely protagonist who, although she isn't a kick-ass protagonist like say... Katniss in The Hunger Games is headstrong and amazing and beautiful. She doesn't moan too much, we know she wants to escape her 'prison' but she deals with it by almost taking it for granted. Gabriel is an attendant at the mansion, he is kind and sweet and lovely and I really liked him! He is the sunshine in a dark novel and I know Whine looked forward to seeing him each day, but so did I!
Rhine's husband, Linden is a character I hated to love. I was Team gabriel all the way through so everytiem he and Rhine kissed or he came to her room I cringed. After learning that he was oblivious to how the wives were chosen, I started to like him, he was kind and nice and I felt a little sorry for him, though I did feel that the 'love' he had for Rhine was a little fake.
Two other lovely chracters are Rhine's sister wives; Jenna and Cecily. Jenna is sullen and moody and wishes to escape from the mansion whereas thirteen year old Cecily throws herself into her marriage with all of her body and soul (no lie). The dynamics between Rhine, Jenna and Cecily were awesome. there was the unity, they each played their roles, but there was jealousy and a little tension there too. I found this a very interesting part of the plot.
I am amazed at the ending, not a cliffhanger, but still left me yearning for more. There were a lot of things going on and in the end I just wanted more! more! more!
The plot developed at the perfect place. never once is it slow, but it doesn't go too fast. DeStefano does cover some pretty mature topics, so I advise this book for older teens. Fourteen upwards.
A fantastic beginning for what I hope to be a fantastic trilogy!
Overall rating: A+
Stand alone/series: First in a series
Released: March 22nd 2011 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children
Book obtained via: Bought!