“Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.
Quick & Dirty: A fantastic dystopian similar to Mad Max. On the search for fresh water, the main character discovers much more than the truth.
Opening Sentence: This is no ordinary flea-bitten day — not for me, it ain’t.
When The Ward by Jordana Frankel was first brought to my attention, they told me it was about a dystopian society searching for freshwater. If you have read the synopsis, you might get the same message out of it. But let me tell you, it is so much more than that. I was excited to read The Ward, only for the promise of infinite possibilities where Frankel could have taken me. She not only exceeded my expectations, but she managed to make a lasting impression. Now let me tell you a little more about The Ward.
The beautiful cover gives you clues on what it’s about. A society, decaying each day by an incurable disease, thirsty for fresh water that is to be believed as nonexistent. A young girl, sixteen-year-old Ren is a racer. She defies gravity and is filled with bravado to race mobiles around the the most dangerous courses. She risks everything to survive in the Ward, not only for herself but for her adopted sister who is trying to survive the deadly illness. The illness is believed to be caused by years of pollution. It not only has affected the people but their surroundings. Fresh water is nonexistent, and the government has tapped Ren to scout for fresh water while on her races. But in search of fresh water, she discovers much more than just the truth. The big question is what will she do with it all once she has it in her grasp.
I loved Ren. Wait, in the beginning, I struggled a bit. I felt she was so disconnected and void of any human emotions. But I quickly realized it’s what she does to protect herself and her heart. She’s tough on the outside, but soft and vulnerable on the inside. She uses her confidence as a shield, never thinking about what it could mean or what it could sacrifice. I loved her for who she was and who she eventually became. In the moments behind the controls of her mobile, she is at peace. Adrenaline fuels her calm, and fear becomes her strength.
In this world that Frankel wrote, The Ward showcases the reality of depleting resources. Frankel writes an environment that isn’t pretty, where the poor only get poorer in sickness and never health. I found the world to be another character, and something that is an unstable variable of twists and turns. The Ward’s world lacks fresh water, something that the people yearn for and will only obtain dependent on your social status. Fresh water becomes the key to health and happiness, a symbol for so many things.
The plot is interesting, reminding me of details from Mad Max. A dystopian society on the cusp of death and decay because of lack of simple resources. But Frankel adds an element that turns it into a hint of fantasy. The culture that she introduces surprised me, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was good or not. As I continued reading the story, I grew more and more interested in this culture. It added a depth to The Ward that gratified my imagination.
As much as I loved The Ward, I did feel I didn’t connect to the story at times. Let me explain why, and only because my reading preferences may differ from yours and that my nuances may be your favorite things. It throws me off sometimes when the momentum of the story changes. What I thought was a simple dystopian suddenly changed to showcase a culture. While I did love this, it took me a while to love the idea. It threw me off, and I simply wasn’t expecting it. I enjoyed the hint of a love story, but I would have rather loved Ren as the badass that she began as. While I feel she deserves love, especially after you read more about her, I think she was strong enough on her own. She survived everything and anything, at that point, and I thought she would have survived without an interest.
But as I write this, I realize that all of these details that I laid out are what made me love the book. Frankel threw curves, wrote twists, and took turns that I didn’t expect. The Ward was outside of the norm, and I loved that.
I highly enjoyed Frankel’s The Ward. I think you will too!
My Rimbo’s nose slices into the water. Against the window, a great splash crashes. I remember too late that I should have tried to open it before going under.
Will the glass hold? Maybe I should have had it replaced . . . maybe it really is too old.
Right, I remind myself. Like I could have seen this coming.
Any moment now I bet it will crack directly over my head. Bust open, sending a dozen pointy daggers down on me.
For the briefest instant the tail nods against the surface, readying itself to sink. Then the nose and front wheel sucks slowly underwater.
My Rimbo isn’t airtight and so, within moments, water begins to flow through the unsealed spaces. I tug at the moonroof, trying to slide it open, but the water’s weight is too heavy. Nothing budges. My Hessians feel the leak first, poor things, and then my toes feel cold and wet.
The water is rising.
FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegan Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of The Ward. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.”