Publisher: Simon & Schuster Teen
Publishing Date: Mar. 22, 2011
Format: hardcover, purchased
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Nobles
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 on 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crown 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 though existed, and it almost makes it possible to igore 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?
Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
I can't imagine living in the world that Rhine Ellery does, only living to the age of 20. As I was reading this book, I kept thinking about all the things that I've done in my 24 years that I wouldn't have been able to do if I were Rhine. I graduated from high school, college and law school. I fell in love. I'm marrying my best friend in October. All these things I wouldn't do if I were Rhine. Sure, she had some schooling and does get married. But she doesn't get to marry the person she fell in love with. She doesn't even get to fall in love at all. She's forced into a world that she doesn't like simply because of how short her lifespan is.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. DeStefano is an incredibly talented writer; her words are beautifully strung together and made me fall in love with this very unique story. I've read many post-apocalyptic books, but nothing quite like this. Like I said, I can't imagine a world where, for the most part, the max age is 25. There are some older, first generations that are in their 60's or 70's, but a majority of the population is well below the age of 25 and many grow up orphans because their parents have died so young. If you can get a copy of this book, definitely do so! I cannot wait to get the second and third in this series and find out what happens to these characters!