Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: April 30, 2013
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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.
I'd honestly barely heard anything about The Ward when I first received it, but it didn't take me very long to fall in love with the idea. And I definitely wasn't disappointed! The Ward certainly was not a perfect book, but it definitely had all the elements of a thriller that I adore. It brings new things to the table, and although at times it felt oddly cheesy or stereotypical, this didn't keep me from loving it immensely and rushing through it at breakneck speed.
I still think Ren is a guy name, but whatever. I guess I can over look that. She's a really strong and she really has a presence. At the same time, she's also very vulnerable but she hates to show it. She doesn't let anyone stand in her way, and she'll do anything to protect her sister, even if it goes against something she believes in. She's fiercely loyal. She also doesn't give her trust away easily at times, and at others she might be too willing to trust. She's a very flawed character, but also very real.
THE LOVE INTEREST
Callum is a mysterious character from the beginning, and it's really difficult to know what side he's on. Does he want to help Ren? Is her only looking out for himself? For the longest time, it's difficult to say. Still, it's obvious that he cares about Ren. He really does go out of his way for her, and although he doesn't always make the best choices I think he does try to do what's right. He has a lot of appeal, and he's not the most conventional character but definitely a very interesting one. I absolutely adore him.
Derek turned out to be way more complex than I first expected. As it turns out, even he is hiding something. One thing I never doubted, though, was how much he cared about Ren. He's really very sweet in his own way. He has definitely made a lot of bad choices, but I think he really tries to make up for him, he just doesn't entirely know how. He definitely still has a lot of issues to sort out but I do love him, so I'm hoping for the best for him.
The Ward is action-packed. Fast-paced. Honestly, it could really qualify as a thriller in a lot of ways.
Ren works for the hated government to get money she needs for her adopted sister's medicine. Then she runs into a mysterious young agent, saying he has some intel for her, and with the choice she makes because of that changes everything for her. Suddenly, the stakes are so much higher, and what Ren could lose becomes so much more precious. She doesn't know where to turn, who she can trust.
I loved the action-oriented plot. There was always something dangerous or thrilling or deliciously romantic going on, and I couldn't get enough of it. I literally could not put this book down because I needed to know what was going to happen next. So many times it took turns I didn't expect, and while I could often piece things together for myself I never got bored.
The world building was bait weak. I love Ren's world, but I wish it had been described better. A lot of the natural-type things that happened were just kind of put out there and never explained, which was just really frustrating. There were some things that I just could not accept at face value. The city itself isn't described in as much detail as I would have liked either.
Moreover, there are a ton of inconsistencies in this book. I really can't go into specifics without being spoilery, but believe me, there are. I remember that while I was reading it I took notes on them but eventually just gave up because there were so damn many. Hopefully at least some of them will be corrected in the final version.
There's a lot to love about this books, its fault being as they are. I loved this book. There was no way I could not love this book.
Callum. Derek. Callum. Derek. I am torn. I am so, so torn. I cannot remember being this torn up about a love triangle since like, well, ever. I usually don't have a difficult time choosing a team, but I just can't. I love them both so much, and choosing one of them just seems wrong. Can't she just end up with both of them? And lest you think I m joking, I am not. Anyway, there was no instalove, which was awesome. It's beautifully arranged triangle, and I loved the dynamic between all three of them. There's a large lack of trust, which makes the romance difficult, but there's also an undeniable connection that's difficult to break.
I always try to cut a bit of slack on debut novels, and this one is no exception. The writing is gorgeous, but Ren's voice is immature and difficult to relate to at times. The language also has a tendency to be way simplistic and actually hard to read because of that. The description always felt kind of off, and it just didn't seem to come across right. However, I also appreciate the personality in Ren's voice.
The ending was really, really good. It's also a really, really torturous cliffhanger. I was left breathless, needing to know what was going to happen next. But alas, no such luck in finding out until the next book. The pacing felt a bit off near the end and everything felt a bit oddly rushed, but other than that I think it was very skillfully pieced together. It's not entirely unexpected, but it also wasn't annoyingly predictable, so I'm happy.
I loved The Ward, despite its faults. It's the first in a duology, and you can bet I'll be picking up the next book eagerly. I can't wait! Something this action-packed and fantastic is sure to have an even more amazing second book. As to would I recommend this? Yes, yes, yes!! You're going to have to deal with some annoying inconsistencies, but if you can put up with them I really suggest you give this a shot.
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