Wither, as the cover makes me want to...I don't know punch puppies, drown kittens, vomit uncontrollably? Can you tell I hate these new-fangled covers that have some sort of waif model on the cover posed in some sort of Tyra Banks type manner? And, yet, against my will, I am drawn to its colors and symbolism...I wasn't going to read
Anyway, I wasn't going to read it and then I saw this review for it on Goodreads (by a reviewer whose opinion I value and whose reviews I follow) just trash the dickens right out of it. It made me curious. Isn't it funny how a bad review can do that? But, I still wasn't going to pay to read it...I waited...hoping one of my students would have it and let me borrow it, hoping one of my friends would buy it and let me borrow it and then there it was on the bookshelf at my aunts house when we went to visit her in the summer begging me to read it. I read it in a day, it's not really that hard of a read.
Frankly, I like the story. The only thing that makes it dystopic, however, is the premise. The rest is mostly a love quadrangle.
Frankly, I like the setting. It happens to be a gothic castle full of mysterious secrets and an orange grove in its meandering garden and, by contrast, a city taken over by disease-riddled, I can only imagine, zombie-like teens and pre-teens and those who prey upon them.
Frankly, I like the main characters. Rhine (isn't that a lovely name that you know 85 million teenage girls will now want to name their first born?) is strong when she needs to be, feminine when she needs to be and knows what she wants which is out of her life of sister-wifedom and back with her brother defending their home. I like her husband, a man/boy struggling not to be the pawn of his father, and the boy she truly loves (at least I think she does), the servant, Gabriel. I, even, like the other two sister-wives, even if one is a little spoiled child who enjoys that she is pregnant at 13 and the other is a bit sad (we find out for good reason) and mopey.
I've recommended it to a couple of students who I know like their dystopia on the light, romantic side and I've mentioned it in passing to a couple of my SF YA friends in the hopes that we could then chat about the many reasons this book and its author bugs me because I can't put my finger on it, except to say maybe there's too much to try to entice the reader to buy into the concept and not enough once your hooked. It's kind of like Taken (that movie with Liam Neeson), meets the Uglies series, meets Frankenstein (the book and the Kenneth Branagh movie), meets I Am Legend, meets the most beautiful sweeping romance ever...say Gone with the Wind.
Will I read the second one? I'm not sure, it's got another one of those covers and a setting that seems to be all the rage now...the carnival/circus. Maybe, I'll just have to keep my eyes on the look-out to see if anyone will let me borrow it.
Side note: my review for this book bounces between 3 and 4...I'm torn...