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To start, the concept was much different than any other dystopian I've read. Most are simply a post-apocalyptic world or a society with major flaws. I found it a bit difficult to imagine a world where most things still appear normal in the sense of how we see the world now knowing it was dystopian. It was also hard to imagine a world where "men" can be 15. I mean, the people who were "old" and close to death were only a year older than myself. It's crazy.
The writing in Wither was absolutely fantastic. It was beautiful and yet morose. The descriptions of everything from snow to fancy dresses were so fantastic, I wanted to be there myself despite the hopelessness of the world. And the characters DeStefano creates are just as fantastic as the writing itself. I found myself feeling sympathy for Linden though I knew I should hate him as Rhine did. Speaking of Rhine. I loved her. She was so genuine and yet still a strong lead. Instead of being all pushy and in-your-face about her strength and determination, though, she kept it underneath the surface making me respect her all the more.
I was so torn between how I wanted it to end. I both wanted Rhine to escape and to stay. In the end, I was happy with the ending but it sadly didn't leave me with that "I need more now!" feeling. If the cover didn't say Trilogy right on it, I could have easily assumed this was a standalone. Don't mistake that minor whining on my part to be a true complaint, though. I will be awaiting the next in the series as you most certainly will when you read it.
Final thoughts: Any fan of dystopia will definitely want to get their hands on this. If you're wary of dystopian or think you don't like it, give this one a try. It's a different vibe than the "despair, despair, despair" of others. Go to the bookstore, library, borrow from a friend: whatever you need to do, go get this book immediately.