Title: The Ward
Author: Jordana Frankel
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
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.
Things I Liked:
1. It was different. I’ve been getting a little jaded with all the dystopians that are still coming out. I mean, shouldn’t the this genre be dead by now? But anyway. Frankel’s debut really stood out to me because of the unique set up of the world and her idea of how the world will end. I feel like most of the dystopians out today seem like they take place in the same world, but Frankel’s wasn’t like that at all.
2. Ren. She’s the toughest heroine I’ve come across in a while. She’s daring and takes risks and fights for what she wants and who she loves. She has believable strengths and flaws, and makes some decisions a heroine in a less-interesting dystopian probably wouldn’t make. She’s more practical in some ways than other heroine’s I’ve read, and is generally just a very distinctive character.
3.The tone. The Ward is a super gritty, edgy book. It’s got action and danger and suspense, all the makings of a great thriller. The tension doesn’t let up for the entire 465 pages, which is pretty impressive for such a long book and a debut at that.
4. The author. I met her at BEA, and I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but she went to my college! Anyway…
5. The lack of romance. Okay, there was a little, but it was in no way the focus of the story. I actually think the story would’ve been fine and/or better without it, but as long as it doesn’t become the series’ focal point, I don’t mind.
6. The fact that it’s a duo, not another goshdarn trilogy. When I learned there would be more then one, at first I thought to myself, oh great, here we go again, because I really don’t see why EVERYTHING has to be a series. I don’t think this particular novel could have been a standalone, but I also didn’t want to wait for all the rest of a trilogy or series. Two books is a good number. There will likely be enough action to keep me interested, and little chance of it dragging on too long if the first book is any indication.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
1. Inconsistent voice. When the book started, I thought Ren would have a totally different voice from the one she ended up with. At first, she used a lot of “ain’t”s and that kind of thing, and while that was somewhat continued, I always felt like they were out of place. I was really hoping Frankel would dig into the grittiness of Ren’s voice more, but she didn’t do as much with it as I though she could have.
2. Ren’s relationship with Aven. I realize it was probably smart to have a three year skip between chapter one and part one, but I did want to see more relationship development between Ren and Aven, since Ren didn’t even like Aven at first.
All in all though, I enjoyed this thrill ride of a book, and hope Jordana Frankel doesn’t make me wait too long for the next book in The Ward duo!