In One Line: the sequel to Wither!!!
This book picks up directly from where the last one left off, so let me warn you HERE BE SPOILERS!!! I won’t be spoiling anything from this book, obvs, but there is a chance that I will mention something from Book 1 in the trilogy, so if you haven’t read that one yet, buy it HERE, read it quickly, and then read this review of Book 2.
Two-tone-eyed Rhine has escaped from the mansion where she was kept as a wifey to naive Linden and is desperate to get to Manhattan, where she hopes to find her two-tone-eyed-twin brother. Along the way she gets sucked into a twisted sexy carnival, meets a fortune teller, nearly gets raped by the owner of a diner and succumbs to a devastating illness. Hilarious hijinks this is not.
Tyra: Girl you rocked that photo like that rocking horse rocked the merry-go-round!
Andre Leon Talley: I’m adoring that broken down doll, the gentleness of the hands - I would hang this in my salon!
Noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker: I love how you’re wearing the dress, the dress isn’t wearing you. You look sad, distressed and broken, but you never lose that outer model. Well done.
Mr Jay: Tyra, I must say, we had a few problems on the set with this one. We tried to get Model-Rhine to wear the contact lenses to make one eye brown and one eye blue, but Model-Rhine just wasn’t going for it. This is why the we ended up with a closed eye shot.
Tyra: This is a problem that lots of models have. Instead of doing this - *makes face* - you need to be doing this - *makes face slightly tenser*. And girl, even with your eyes closed, you could have been smizing. You got the tone of the shot just right though. I was going through your film, and every shot was wracked with sadness and angst, but we chose this particular shot because you just look like you’re letting go, like the weight of the dystopian world is on your shoulders and you’re losing all hope. You nailed it.
Ms Jay: The photo is fabulous, but you need to work on your walk.
(please note: the above will only make sense if, like me, you watch a LOT of America’s Next Top Model)
Why You’ll Love This Book
- Guys! It’s the sequel to Wither! Guys! If you loved that first book, you are undoubtedly going to love this.
- Sexy carnival time. This book went places I didn’t think it was going to go - drug addiction and prostitution. And I think that maybe Rhine and her manservant-boyfriend Gabriel nearly participate in a bit of exhibitionism. I don’t think they actually end up Doing It (although it’s debatable) but there are moments in this book that certainly get a bit saucier than your average YA dystopian drama.
- The Big Wide World. Book 1 was set firmly in the realm of the mysterious mansion, and had a fairytale quality to it I likened to the story of Bluebeard. This book takes place in the great big Outside, so we get to see what Rhine’s universe really looks like.
- The Journey. I was nearly finished before I realised what this book reminded me of, and you are going to think I’m crazy, but Pinocchio. The sense of an endless quest with mad circuses, friends that turn out to be enemies and the omnipresence of futility and death (I’m talking about the original Pinocchio, not the Disney one!). Except that instead of a Blue Fairy promising life and love (and school!) we have Rhine’s evil father-in-law Vaughan, who seems to lurk around every corner.
Why You May Not Love This Book:
- Repetition. Rhine does like to over-do the thinking, and constantly brings up memories or important novel details that we’ve already read before. I want DeStefano to put a bit more trust in her readers ‘getting’ what’s going on, instead of constantly explaining everything to us.
- Dreamy gorgeous language. Normally beautiful language would be considered a good thing, but here I feel like it can be a bit of a block to us understanding the Real Rhine. She glamorises everything. Even the starkest, most horrible thing is given shades of beauty through references to colour and smell. As such I feel that the book is over-written. I never feel that it is Rhine herself speaking to me, but I’m always conscious of the writer behind the scenes, desperate to impress me and out-do her last simile. A bit harsh? Possibly, but once I started thinking about it I couldn’t stop.
- Cliffhanger. Yep. It’s another one of those trilogies that leaves you hanging. I do feel like it’s my duty to warn you of this, because it gets on my nerves. It stops me regarding this book as an individual work, and makes me wonder if the whole story should really be thought of as one entity, instead of three. In which case I would probably rather one complete big fat novel, instead of three smaller ones.
The Hypersomnia Test:
Passed! Passed! Passed! The pace was so quick I sped through the book, jumping from one mad dramatic scene to the next. And every now and again you glimpse the intimacy between Rhine and Gabriel, and this was just steamy enough to stop my brain drifting off into it’s hypersomniacal state (you may have noticed after reading a few of my reviews that a good sex scene will always stop me falling asleep).
I couldn’t help but feel that this book was the bridge to take me to Book 3. When I’ve finished reading the entire trilogy, will I remember Book 2 as a standout? Probably not, but it does its job well, widens the scope of DeStefano’s universe and presents some interesting moral conflicts. And the cover is SO pretty.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Buy Fever by Lauren DeStefano HERE!!!