The ideas this book are based on are what drove me to both start and finish it. I have a soft spot for dystopian books – books that are based in a distant or not-to-distant future of what humanity could become if things go awry. In Wither, the future we're presented with is a medical one – where females die at the age of 20 and males at the age of 25 due to over genetic engineering.
Wither, in actuality, was a whole lot more dull than it promised to be. Aside from the dull-ness, there were major problems in the plot that bothered and nagged at me the entire time I was reading.
For example; the plot of the first book (it's a trilogy) is entirely based on our protagonist being “snatched” by a group of people who sell women into bride-hood. Essentially, women are forced, against their will to become the polygamist wives of rich men who provide them with everything they could want in way of fancy clothes and all the food they can eat, in a world where orphans die of hunger.
My main issue is this: If the world is so horrible, with young orphans starving and sleeping on the streets – why in the world do women have to be snatched off of the street to become the brides of wealthy men? It's even mentioned (small spoiler) at one point in the book that the man thinks his brides were trained in some sort of bride-house to become the best wives they can be to a future husband. Nope – women are grabbed from their lives and forced into it. Why? I honestly don't understand the purpose of it, given the world we're introduced to. Why are there not places that train brides to become wives who birth future generations?
My second issue is the protagonist, Rhine. She has absolutely zero personality. The book is pushed onwards simply by her desire to escape after being captured and forced into marriage with a wealthy young man. Escape, escape, escape. What does she love? Tell me more in depth about her! She was a blank slate that needed to be filled in. The book relies only on the dystopian aspects and not the character aspect of our protagonist. It's strange, though, because her two sister wives have very en-point personalities. One is angry and angsty, the other is a spoiled brat. Rhine, however, wants to escape to get back to her brother.
My third issue, and perhaps a much more minor one, is the cover art. The reason Rhine was snatched is because of her eyes – she has heterochromia, meaning one eye is a different colour than the other. The cover, however, shows what I can only imagine is our protagonist, with her eyes closed. Closed. Yes – the whole reason, seemingly, that this adventure takes place, is not shown on the cover. Her eyes could have been distant, but open; or focused specifically on them – but, no, they're closed.
I won't be reading the other two books in this series (unless I find them ridiculously cheap) as the thoughts in the bag of my mind, nagging at me, just never stopped. If you're a fan of the Dystopian genre, I would still skip this one.