My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a story about Rhine, a sixteen year old girl who lives in a world turned asunder. Through war and through a genetic mishap, that was meant to create a world where all disease and illness no longer exists. Which only worked for the first generation of this "miracle" in science. But their children were not so lucky. The result was daughters who only lived to 20 and sons who lived to 25. And the race to find an antidote to reverse this genetic time bomb has been in hot pursuit. But some, known as pro-naturalist would rather just see the human race run it's new course without interference. In other words, just let the humans die out. And stopping any attempts for a cure.
Rhine's parents were geneticist's searching for a cure. And who were killed by a bomb planted at the lab they worked at. Leaving Rhine and her brother, Rowan orphaned and struggling to survive this dangerous world.
This is a world of poverty and crime, and a new business is thriving by kidnapping young girls to be sold to the rich into polygamist marriages to bear more children.
Rhine and Rowan do their best to protect her from this danger, but one answer to a job wanted, lands her in a van filled with other kidnapped girls. And she, along with two other of the girls are sold to a wealthy family. She spends her time trying to find a way to survive and escape. To spend the remaining four years of her life free and with her only family, her brother.
I have to say that I really liked this book and wish I had the next one on me so I can continue the story.
Now, I have read some not so favorable reviews, and I can see some of their points. For example, the lack of world building, flawed science and medical speak and what-not.
BUT...Lauren DeStefano's writing is so engrossing and beautiful, that it didn't even register with me while I was reading. And read it I did...in two sittings. I could not put this book down. Her writing just pulls you in and doesn't let go. And I love when a book does that to me. I love to be so involved that I can't bare to part with it.
I found the characters to be well developed and interesting. And I cared, or in some cases hated, them.
And there were some topics that some, including myself, will find disturbing. Like the fact that a huge number of these girls sold into marriage and motherhood are underage. Like Cecily, one of the sister wives of Rhine. She was just thirteen when she was married and impregnated. Luckily, Lauren didn't get descriptive about it. Polygamy, was another taboo subject in this book. Which again, was something only the rich seemed to partake in. But it seemed to work out for these three girls. Rhine, had said that she seemed to be more of sister WIFE than a wife to her husband, who by the way was 21, which left him with only four years left. The bond that seemed to grow between her and the other two was a saving grace for the two older ones. Cecily was blissful in her new, seemingly secure life. She was just glad to feel like she had a home.
Despite all that, I found the struggle, heartaches, relationships between some of the characters, and overall story to be one I care about and want to know more of. I want to see where this series will lead me. I want to think Rhine and Rowan will once again reunite. And I want to be there if they do.
I did check this book out at the library, but I will now be purchasing the series for my own collection.
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