Review: The Ward by Jordana Frankel
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Author: Jordana Frankel
Title: The Ward
Genre: Dystopian,Science Fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Copy Provided By: Edelweiss
Expected Publication: 4/30/13
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.
The Ward was one of my most anticipated releases of 2013. A city buried under water, a mysterious plague yep The Ward had all the makings of a stellar Dystopian. Unfortunately this debut while very interesting in concept stumbled quite a bit in its execution. Normally I wouldn't start a review off with the negatives but feel this one is to big to not point it out.
In The Ward next to the plague, water shortage is the biggest problem the characters face. Now here's my problem, the water isn't toxic,nor filled with pathogens that will turn someone into a mutant if ingested, nope the water is just filled with saline. Survival 101 will tell you not to drink sea water straight but with just a little know how it can be converted to clean drinkable water. The people in The Ward have all this technology, from the racing boats to the equipment designed to test patients for HBNC. But and this is a big BUT, you expect me to believe these same characters are to stupid to build a desalination machine or crack open a survival book where they can make homemade ones. I mean, seriously?? It has been damn near a century since the ice caps melted surely someone would of figured this out by now. The above mentioned was absolutely my biggest pet peeve with this book and almost made me stop reading it entirely.
Next to the obvious plot fail with water shortages, my next biggest gripe with The Ward was its main protagonist Ren. While I felt sorry for her being an orphan and all, I just couldn't get past her personality & inner monologue. Ren is catty to the point most people would probably call her a bitch. Ren claims not to care about her looks or having a boyfriend but then harps on the female characters who do. It's really no small wonder why she has no female friends. I also didn't like her obsession with Derek. We get it he's hot but the fact she said she wanted him even more because he had a girlfriend made me want to smack her upside the head. Personality flaws aside, I liked Ren being a female racer in a sport dominated by males and I also think the dedication to her sister was compelling.
Speaking of Ren's sister, I loved Aven!! Her storyline was fantastic and her personality shined through the pages. I strongly hope that we get to see more of her in the next book and also a bit more back story on her character and how she came to be in The Ward. I have theories... but until the next book they will remain just that.
The last problem I have with The Ward is the world building. With the exception of 3 very brief lines describing the melting of the polar ice caps we see nothing else describing how events happened. I've seen a trend recently where Authors have been holding off back story for later books. So I suppose we might be more flashbacks in the future. I however, would of appreciated more in the first book.
Now I do have to say that while the points above really made me struggle at times, I do think this series shows a ton of promise. One of the things I really found interesting was the spring Ren finds it added a completely different element to the story, a twist if you will that really made things more complicated for the characters. I liked it!
Another thing I liked were the races. I'm not going to lie, I definitely got a Mad Max feel from them but Jordana Frankel put her own spin on the races that made them feel fresh and distinct to the world of The Ward.
Lastly, I liked the use of Pennies. You'll have to read the book to understand the meaning but it was creative and it left me smiling seeing the use of them come up again at the end. I love consistency and the pennies were utilized very well throughout the entire story.
Overall, I really did like The Ward. For all its