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.
Let the cover fool you. Let it draw you in when you see it on the shelf at the bookstore. Please do. Because that's what I did, and I am so glad. Not only is this novel pretty on the outside, but it's gorgeous on the inside. Every page, every chapter, is filled with amazing writing, angst, suspense, romance, dialogue, and plot. I am in love with every inch of this book.
First, character development. I identify with each and every character in this book (except maybe the Housemaster . . . can you say creepy? And a few other choice words that would upset my grandmother . . .), and I loved most of them. First, Rhine. This book jumps right into the story, right into the action, and I swore I felt like I was in Taken (you know, the movie). It just starts, and bam! You're hooked before you're done with the first page. I felt so terrible and frightened for her in her situation, and I understood and agreed with every decision she made. Rhine is my new best fictional friend. Gabriel is my next favorite--wow, do I love that boy. Can you say hot-tay? Their secret romance definitely added to the endless suspense of the plot, and I hyperventilated every time he came up in the story. He is now my fictional boyfriend.
Cecily and Jenna both had their own little quirks--I liked Jenna much more than I liked Cecily, but they both had their moments. I had nightmares (not really, because I read this entire book in one sitting . . . yay for six hour car rides and finishing two books with one bathroom break!) about being thirteen years old and being married . . . and pregnant. Scared me so much. Linden I felt terribly for, and I think I loved him just a little bit by the end of the story, like I know that Rhine did, too.
The dialogue also rocked (oh how I love dialogue), as did all of the writing. Rhine had a very memorable voice in my mind, and I love that in a book. The plot of this story was very, very creative (I had flashbacks of Chosen . . .), and I don't think it's possible to love a book as completely as I loved this one.
Basically, go buy this book. Read it. Love it. Give it to your friends. Stare at the cover.
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