By Lauren DeStefano
March 22, 2011
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 368 pages
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?
— Amazon.com description
Oh, this book! This book! My heart was beating every time I turned the page. I felt like disaster was around every page corner. And I mean REAL disaster. I was petrified that Rhine was going to be raped, murdered, succumb to Stockholm Syndrome, you name it at all points in this story.
I hope that’s not a spoiler. But you really should know that going in: This book is about human trafficking. And you should also know that I loved it.
I’m surprised, actually. If you just told me that was what it’s about, I’d say no way could I enjoy that. But Lauren DeStefano did a beautiful job. In between the most frightening parts were small moments where humanity shined through. The “sister wives” and their friendship was multi-layered and wonderful to observe.
A beautiful, though shocking and unexpected, read.
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