Synopsis (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 limited time she has left.
In a world where girls die at 20 and guys die at 25, it is dangerous for girls to even wander the streets. Rhine knew this, and when the Gatherers collect her and she is forced into marriage with two other brides, she is taken away from the only family she has left, her twin brother. She can't forget about him and she vows to return home, if she can just get away from the mansion she's locked in. It's not just her husband. Linden that she has to worry about. It's Linden's eccentric father who is bent on finding a cure, even if that means gathering the bodies of the dead to perform his crazy experiments on.
Together with a servant boy, Gabriel who she's managed to get close to, they try to find a way to escape. But as Rhine's time is running out, will she be able to escape and find her way home?
Lauren DeStefano has created a confronting world where girls are being sold into marriage and prostitution. The writing is hauntingly beautiful as the reader is introduced to Rhine who is kidnapped and forced into marriage. The character of Rhine has been created with great depth and emotion that you can't help but feel sorry for her predicament. In order to be free, she has to pretend to love Linden, her husband, but at the same time the only thing she can think about is escaping. Then there's Linden's father, a man that is scary because he cares about his son too much and would do anything to make him happy and keep him alive.
The setting created was beautiful and very contrasting to the world that Rhine had known previously. She was forced to make the decision to live in luxury for the remainder of her short life or escape to the dangerous world and back to her brother. But, her mind never waivers from finding a way back to her only family.
There were enough twists and turns to keep me reading and hoping that Rhine will find a way to escape from her captors. I look forward to reading more about Rhine and her world.
2011 Debut Author Challenge: #6 of 20
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #12 of 50