Reading progress update: I've read 57%.

Wither - Lauren DeStefano

I'm struggling with the story so far. It's dystopian YA where, after scientist manged to create perfect genetically engineered embryos, the offspring of these people have a shorter lifespan. Women live to be 20, and men 25. This is supposedly due to a virus that sets in, but it sounds much more like something in their genetics. 


First issue: It seems like all humans that aren't the first generation (the engineered embryos) are descendants from this first generation. Meaning no one had children the natural way, so to say. Which, of course, is illogical. Because this society originates from the one we live in today, and there are several groups that would never agree to make this change so easily. Like some religious groups wouldn't shift to this way of procreation. 


Now, the world we're in this book is set in the future, after a third world war. 

All we were taught of geography was that the world had once been made up of seven continents and several countries, but a third world war demolished all but North America, the continent with the most advanced technology. The damage was so catastrophic that all that remains of the rest of the world is ocean and uninhabitable islands so tiny that they can’t even be seen from space.




I educate myself on the polar ice caps, vaporized long ago by warfare, and an explorer named Christopher Columbus who proved the earth was round.

Apart from getting basic history wrong - Columbus did not prove the earth was round, this was known long before his time - there are several things about this that are wrong. First of all though I need to mention that the heroine grew up in Manhattan and is now living in Florida. The thing is, say there was a third world war. Enemies of the U.S. would most likely hit cities like New York, D.C., and other bigger cities first. I seriously doubt New York would be habitable if there'd been a third world war. 


Anyway, let's say New York survived and went about unscathed. Then if the ice caps had melted, it would be underwater. The same would go for parts of Florida. It's something a quick google search would tell you. War or climate catastrophe, Manhattan wouldn't be a place for the living. I could've let it slip, but the heroine is constantly going on about her life from Manhattan, and it bothers me each time she does.


Then we have the concept that young women are kidnapped and sold into polygamys marriages simply to have the man's offspring. It's apparently incredibly important to have offspring in this world where everyone will die by the time they are 20/25 (depending on their gender). This theme isn't explored enough. Let's face it, if you put a group of people from this age group on a remote island without a future, procreation wouldn't be on their minds. Neither would it be as important to these people as this book makes it sound. The parents won't be the ones to raise the child, seeing how they will likely be dead before the child is over ten years old. 


So yes, I'm struggling with this. On one side, the general story is overall okay, but the endless errors in basic facts and the world-building are making truly difficult to enjoy it.