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?
Pages: 368 pages (Hardcover)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Released: March 22, 2011
Can I just start by saying that this book was fantastic? Because it was. It really, really was.
When I opened the book and read the first chapter, I knew that this was going to be a great book. The plot can be summed up in two sentences. *ahem* Rhine is captured and is bought by a Housemaster who marries her, along with two other girls. She wants to go back to her brother, but must play by the rules in order to find the perfect moment to escape.
From this summary, you will probably realize one thing. This book, mostly takes place in a house. A rich house. Despite this being a dystopian novel we don't really get a sense of this, because of the location. There are hints, for example the first chapter when the Gatherers show up, when certain characters die, despite their young age, and when Rhine tells us about how Rowan and her survived out in Manhattan. Other than this, not so much is shown.
So if you are looking for a heavy dystopian novel, this one might get you disappointed. But you should still give it a try.
The characters, for the most part, are fleshed out nicely. I do think Rhine was slightly naive about her situation, but she's young so I forgave her. I did love Rhine's sister wives, Jenna and Cecily, though. Jenna was a fantastic character, who was smart, observant, and knew how to play the game. Cecily, while naive like Rhine, did show that she's observant and can make things happen for her.
I liked the interactions between the sister wives and their husband. Linden, despite some of his problems, made for a better love interest than Gabriel.
I really loved this book. So much so that once I finished, I went out and got Fever. Yay! In terms of dystopian novels, this is different, but it does have a good premise and an interesting story.
I liked it!