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 of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd 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 thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore 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?

This is one that has been on my shelf for almost a year but I wanted to wait till I was 20 to read it. I was surprised to find that I really quite enjoyed the book. I have read a lot of dystopian over the past couple of years and I wasn’t how this would stand up to some of the more high action ones but I found the idea quite relatable. What really make this story is the relationships Rhine builds with the other girls who have become her sister-wives. They really do begin to act like sisters and I think that because girls do come together when they start living closely with one another it brought that bit of reality a good dystopian needs. It also added a level of emotion to the story. Although it is a story about love, and a dangerous romance blossoms between Rhine and Gabriel, the feelings she develops for the girls are stronger and although she is missing her brother she finds herself in a situation that may not have a happy ending either way. However nothing can prevent Rhine from remember the live and world she has left behind, particularly when her father-in-law is about. As she discovers more about him she is fueled even more to try to return to the freedom she longs for but she doesn’t want to go alone. I’m a bit nervous about the rest of this trilogy now though, because the ending of this one was a little perfect but there is still an imperfect dystopian society to be discovered.

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