Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Source: Galley Grab
Summary from Goodreads:
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
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 limted time she has left.
I had heard a lot about this book from other bloggers and when I got the opportunity to snatch it up I couldn't resist. It was not at all what expected and I am happy about that. It was so much more!
The story takes place in the future where all females die at 20 and males at 25. Due to the short life span, and hope to find an antidote, the need for procreation is extremely high. In order to find women to make as brides men hire Gatherers to search for women they can marry. The Gatherers take the women against their will and they are forced to marry. Some of these girls can be taken as young as 13 years old. Most men have multiple wives giving them the chance for multiple children and thus society has a chance to live on and hopefully find a cure.
We see the world through the eyes of Rhine, a 16 year old that is kidnapped to become a wife. She, along with 2 other sister wives have to learn to adapt to this new life. All 3 of them handle their situation with completely different mannerisms. They all go from one extreme to the next as far as how they feel about the situation that they find themselves in. Rhine is so eager to escape and get home to her twin brother who has no idea what has become of her.
I don't think I have ever really felt so much for the characters. They were so well written. DeStefano makes you feel their heartache and their sadness. The story is both disturbing and completely fascinating. It was scary to think that this was a world they were living in. It captured my attention from beginning to the end. I was always wondering what would happen next and I was fearful for the well being of each of the characters. It was full of heartache and sadness, but there are sweet, hopeful moments as well.
I was incredibly happy to find out that this was going to be a trilogy. I can't wait to find out what's in store in the next 2 books. This was all around fantastic read and I highly recommend it!
I think the cover also deserves mentioning. How fantastic is it? I think it is absolutely beautiful!