Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: The Ward by Jordana Frankel

The Ward
Author:  Jordana Frankel
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books, 465 pages
Publication Date:  April 30, 2013

From Goodreads:
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.

Pam's Review:
This is an action-packed book with many plot twists.  It is set in a future New York City, where the world is mostly water (reminded me of WaterWorld and Mad Max, sort of).  

Ren, the main character, has never let herself become close to anyone.  She lives in the Ward, which is a very poor part of the city where a lot of people get sick and die.  However, she finally lets herself get close to Aven, and then Aven gets sick.  

The story takes place during a forty-eight hour period of time, and time is of the essence.  The author does an incredible job of making you feel the time crunch and the desperation that Ren is feeling, trying to save Aven.  

I really liked Ren.  She's strong, independent, and willing to do anything to help Aven.  What a great relationship!  There is a point in the book where she has to make a choice when it comes to Aven.  Does she make the right choice?

Derek--what can I say?  I had so many different emotions about Derek.  I basically felt everything that Ren was feeling:  I was crushing on him, I loved him, I was mad at him, I was disappointed by him, I had hope for him, I felt betrayed and hurt by him, I had hope for him again.  Up and down and up and down.  The author definitely had me guessing about his character.

Other great characters were Callum, Ter, and Benny.  Oh Callum--what a great guy!

The world-building was interesting.  There was a Wash Out, where basically the whole earth (I'm assuming) was covered in water.  Fresh water is scarce, and they have to filter rainwater.  I didn't exactly understand all of it, especially how, with the technology that was available, they couldn't filter the water somehow.  Oh well.  

And although you know about the Ward (the poor section), and the United Metro Islets (the rich section) and also about upstate New York, where they apparently have ways of getting water (not clear how), you really don't know anything about the rest of the country or the world.  Or how the government operates, other than knowing about the Governor.  That can be explained by the book being told in the first person, from Ren's POV, and it's mentioned more than once that they don't have the technology that lets them know what's going on in the other section, but I feel like that should have been explained somehow.  But that didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the story and there is going to be a sequel, which will probably go into the world-building a bit more.

And once again, no real ending.  Sick of cliffhangers!  Still, really enjoyed the book.  Fantastic dystopian!


  1. Great review! I was pretty scared to read this one after I read a DNF review, but after your review I will definitely pick it up soon:)

    1. I had read mixed reviews, but I decided to take a chance and I'm glad I did. If I connect and get emotionally invested in the characters and the plot is fast-paced and interesting, I usually like the book. Let me know what you think if you end up reading it!

  2. Hmmm. I've also seen some pretty mixed reviews about this one. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I actually have this on my Kindle, but just haven't gotten around to it. I really hate it when the world-building is lacking--like it sounds like it is here--but maybe I'll give it a shot. Great review!

    1. I agree that lack of world-building can be a problem, but sometimes it makes sense if the character is in the dark because she doesn't have access to the information. Also, with series it seems like you learn more about the world as it goes on. I also think it's hard to write without a lot of info. dumping (which I've heard is an issue in The Bones Season, which I really want to read). Let me know what you think if you read it!