The Ward by Jordana Frankel
Published by Katherine Tegan Books (Harper Collins)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Format Egalley (available in a range of formats from 30th April 2013)
The reading slum is still there sadly, but The Ward certainly helped raise me up a bit!
Ren is a dragster and a girl, she lives in a dystopian New York, following ‘the wash’, where the majority of the city is under water. The people of New York (now called the ward) are mostly poor, desperate for fresh water and suffering from a fatal ailment named the blight. Ren’s (non-related but still feels like a sister) sister is one such individual, and to help pay for medicine on the black market, Ren turns mole, working for the police to help find fresh water hidden in the city. As a dragster, and a good one at that, Ren races round the city going to places usually left untouched since the wash, and after a tip by a mysterious Justin, she finds fresh – the key to everything, but its then that things start to go wrong, who can Ren trust to help her and her sister?
The story sounds brilliant, I mean I’m thinking fast and the furious with water and a sunken city, what could go wrong! And for the most part it is pretty well thought out, definitely original. BUT, the action was all a bit blah, the races didn’t pump up the adrenaline like they should of, and the near misses were not felt by the reader. The book took me a while to get into, it was, as I said, a good premise and was pretty well written, but there was just an edge missing for me, I can’t be helpful and say what exactly, but something.
I loved Ren, although she was the usual YA dystopian character (damaged, unloved, has a secret no-one can know, but when you break through the shell she’s worth loving), she was still a great read, and the reader roots for her. She has an inner toughness and is very Katnis in character, everything she does is for her sister, her devotion often clouds her judgement but she tries to do the right thing. Aven (Ren’s sister) is a sweet little thing and I’d loved to have known more about her, she plays a minor part considering its all about her, and the moments between her an Ren shine as the highlights of the book.
Frankel has delivered a fun dystopian that is worth a read, it presents a new world with some characters that you’ll love (and others you’ll love to hate) but despite the original setting, the plot is not over original – in the sense that a young girl is left running a race against time with the weight of the world and those she loves on her shoulders. Thats not a bad thing, we go back to these stories time and time again because we enjoy the little guys fight. One to pre-order? Maybe not, but definitely one for your to read piles.
ARC/Egalley kindly provided by the publishers via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.