Here is a brief synopsis: Due to genetic modifications in a previous generation, women die at the age of 20 and men at the age of 25. An earlier generation that was not afflicted by this virus are in their 70s. Rich young men buy kidnapped young women to be their brides in polygamous marriages. The main character, Rhine, is married, along with two other girls, to Linden which makes my skin crawl--and then we meet his even creepier 70 year old dad. As I write this I am astonished that I even attempted to read this book.
I frequently suspend my disbelief when reading futuristic or fantasy novels, but this one was just too much! I am not alone in objecting to the shoddy science behind Lauren DeStefano's world-building. Here are a couple of the most glaring problems:
- Claiming melted ice caps and setting your story in Manhattan and Florida is just silly. Setting it on the coast of, say, Kentucky, would have been interesting.
- The whole genetic manipulation/virus thing. You would not be able to create a "perfect race" of children all at once, so non-modified people would exist to have children.
The basic logic of the plot was also a problem:
- Society would have degenerated into anarchy if you only had people 25 and under along with a shrinking minority of people in their 70s.
- If orphans are starving, it seems that kidnapping is unnecessary because many would sign right up for a (short) life of luxury as the wife of a rich young man.
- Why kill the unwanted girls? Why not just leave them by the side of the road? Why did she never ask Linden why the girls were killed? Okay, maybe she did and I didn't make it that far.
Did I mention that it is the first part of a trilogy? I am so tired of dystopian YA novels.