Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Ward (The Ward #1) by Jordana Frankel: review

Goodreads rating: 3.70
e-ARC, 465 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Series: The Ward #1
Source: For review from the publisher
Genre: YA dystopian

Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.

This book has a interesting but initially flawed premise. I just want amend that sentence by explaining that the only thing that was really flawed about it was that even now we have the technology to purify salt water and make it drinkable. We wouldn't need a sort of holy grail/fountain of youth kind of deal because we'd be making all that salt water into pure drinkable water. That was my main problem with this book. I had to keep reminding myself to forget about the logical and just let the story flow (ha! Like water...) through me. From then on, I really became immersed (really, I'm not trying to make puns here) in the story. Ren is a daredevil and an orphan. The only person she has is her sister, who isn't actually her sister, but another girl from the orphanage. Ren has a secret though. There's a terrible disease that's thought to be spread from pollution (I know, another statement about how fossil fuels are ruining our environment) and Ren's sister Aven now has it. But Ren is actually immune to it. The other secret is that she works for the government, searching for a pocket of freshwater that could help find the cure to the disease (again, suspend your disbelief). Obviously, Ren has to make a living though, and she does so through racing.

The racing is where we meet Derek. I don't think I've ever been so confused about a love interest. It's like that song Hot 'n Cold by Katy Perry, and this boy was like fire and ice. We're set up to think of Derek as the unattainable bookie that Ren meets with after very race. He's mysterious and hot (I did think he was good-looking, but his actions made his looks get muddled too), and Ren is completely smitten with him. But she knows nothing can happen because, well, he's her bookie and he has what she assumes to be a girlfriend. But circumstances bring them together, and we find out that Derek is definitely not who he seems. But he doesn't seem to know who he is at times, which is why it was hard for me to like him. Since we first meet him, he gets worse and worse in the eyes of Ren and therefore the readers. I love Callum, and I don't think I'm the only one. I'd rather have a smart guy than a hot bookie. I can't say too much about Callum, but I felt like he was a much more human character than Derek and I liked him way more because of how she was there for Ren yet still made crucial human errors. Again, I can't say too much on him... Or Derek for that matter.

The racing was an interesting element. It actually reminded me of the racing in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and so that's how I thought of it, except I put water there instead of sand and instead of a straight shot, there are buildings to jump over. Anyway, visually, that's how I imagined it. I've heard a lot of people having problems keeping up during these scenes because they became too technical. And I can totally see that. If I wasn't a Star Wars nerd, I think I may have had the same problem, but I actually got a thrill from reading those parts. Overall, I think this was an enjoyable read. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be and not nearly worth that gorgeous cover, but it was a formula dystopia with a little paranormal twist and suspense. It is definitely a novel where you need to suspend your disbelief. I think it's easier for me because I'm writing a book set in a completely different world, and so that's how I kind of imagined this to be. I didn't see it as a flooded United States, but a world made of water. But as a dystopian with its own little nuances, I enjoyed it.

Lovers of dystopian, racing and paranormal mystery. This one has a lot going on. Also for great suspenders of disbelief.

1 comment:

  1. I am just getting ready to DNF this one but your 4 star rating makes me possibly reconsider. Maybe there is more to it than I've seen so far. I am about 4 hours into the audio and I'm alternately confused and annoyed. And from your review it seems there is a love triangle? Ugh... what to do....


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