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Sunday, June 9, 2013

ARC Review: The Ward by Jordana Frankel

This is just what I desperately need.
A high octane novel that keeps me on my toes filled with scene after scene of breath taking action.

Title: The Ward (The Ward #1) by Jordana Frankel
Release Date: April 30th 2013
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher (Thanks Christine!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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.

Water levels begin to rise and what became known as the Wash Out changed the lives of everyone, including Ren. No one wants to adopt her from the orphanage she was in, and she was about to give up until she met Aven. Years past, and now The Ward where Ren is faces a dire situation: they need fresh water and only Ren might be able to find it. Forced to worked with the authorities because of a prior arrest, Ren must keep what she does as a secret from her other identity as the Red Rider, an adrenaline junkie with the love for drag racing on rooftops. But things became different when Ren was approached to search for a source, which she found. But finding a new fresh water source might have repercussions bigger than she expected, not just for her, but for everyone in the Ward. This water is different, and it might be the key to save Aven.

Ren is an interesting character. I am smack dab in the middle for liking one half of her and scoffing at the other half. I do admire everything that she stands for. She's this female daredevil who races with a passion, her love for it was evident throughout the story and the part of her that loves Aven fiercely is what makes her such a likable character to me. She's an orphan and all she have left is Aven, and she was willing to do anything for her, blood related they might be or not. She has this extraordinary way of showing love and kindness, not to anyone but just to this fourteen year old girl. When I think about the reason why she was holding on to Aven so dearly it makes me sad. Ren's been alone all her life, different. The Blight kills people and yet she's immune. From when she was little no one wanted to adopt her and the only person who loved her was dying. What else can she do? The part that I didn't like about her was how she responds to Derek. She comes off as this love sick teenager who was willing to convince herself over and over that maybe there's something more. That maybe he can love her. There were moments that I thought so too but I do not like how she always had to come up with excuses for his behavior. Blinded by love? Unrequited love? For someone like her who gives her all in what she does, she deserves better, and for such a strong heroine she turns into this nonsensical, sometimes pathetic person all because of one guy.

I've always been quick to choose which person I think would suit the female lead better, and this one of the very few times where I liked the geeky guy better than the bad boy. Callum, disguised as an officer from the DI, is looking for a cure. He's a mysteriously rich boy from the West Isle and he's determined to end The Blight. He's awkward, and he's the complete opposite of Ren, but I find myself enjoying their odd connection with each other. I want them to have more, because Callum is this rational, calmer side that balances out Ren and her impulsive behavior. Compared to Derek, Callum felt like the safe choice, but sometimes safe is better, especially since it looks like there's still more to Callum's personality than being just a doctor who can develop a cure. I never liked Derek. He's the kind of bad boy that holds too much secrets but doesn't give them away for people to make more sense of their character. One moment he's all mysterious and nice, the next he's confused and is always unsure and undecided which action to take. What irritates me the most is how he couldn't make up his mind about everything and keeps on expecting Ren to be there, waiting for him to love her when he deserts her on moments she needs him the most.

The Ward's setting is an interesting place to imagine. How will people live when the world has been washed out and there's water everywhere, but there's not a drop suitable to drink? It's a challenge to imagine a world submerged in water, and yet life goes on for those left in the world above. Suspension bridges connect fragmented places, dangerous sports like the race Ren participates in were on the rise. There's something about seeing a new world after a catastrophic disaster and what it was before that just gives me the goosebumps in this novel. Jordana Frankel did a good job in painting a picture of what Ren's world is like, and what goes on in it. The disparity of the lives on those in the Ward and in the Upper States is worth a closer look as well, because when it comes to the Blight, those who can afford fresh water will still die, but how about those who cannot? It's a different kind of hell for the rich and the poor.

The Ward becomes a more thrilling story with antagonists who would do anything to cater to their own selfish desires, no matter what the cost. Ren facing them and outsmarting them is a proof at just how kickass she is. The Ward isn't just a story set in a future world ravaged with rising water levels, but it's also one with an unusual, unexpected mix of myth and legends. Ren's world is, in a sense, modern technologically despite the Wash Out, and yet the main source of conflict is a spring that cures people which might also be a key to immortality traces back hundreds of years before. I wasn't sure clashing ideas like this will work, but The Ward had some surprises in the story that made it mesh well.

The Ward is an exhilarating read! It's like watching a movie happening inside the pages of a book. You put the action, drama, conflict and danger from the screen to a novel and this is the kind of book that you get. What a wicked debut for Jordana Frankel. An electrifying story with a tough, fierce heroine who's equal parts strong and sensitive, The Ward is as fast faced as the Omni's Ren drives complete with emotional ups and downs like the buildings and rooftops Ren conquers. How far will one go to protect someone she loves? Read Ren's story and see just how far she'll go for Aven, and how her actions lead to something monumental that will kill, but ultimately save people. A splendid story!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The story lost some of its allure because of the very frustrating, confusing, headache inducing relationship between Ren and Derek. Ren's rationalizations were so absurd when it comes to Derek. And he's such a weak willed person! I'm not even sure how he became a potential love interest for Ren.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
I'm in awe when I think of such a cover as a setting of the story. So much water and it's useless.


  1. Unfortunately I wasn't a big fan of this book, but I still liked the story it told and the main character. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Great review! :D

  2. I could never get over the fact that these people were surrounded by water, had all this technology and yet could not figure out how to make a damn desalination machine. It was so frustrating. Sounds like you liked it just a bit more than I did.

    1. That's a valid point. Wow, why didn't I think of that? I guess I was too caught up with Ren's POV that I never thought of that answer at all!

  3. Oh I can't wait to read this - I was lucky enough to have snagged a copy at BEA. Though admitted I have an aversion to the name Red (old ex Boyfriend *shiveers*)

  4. This book is definitely on its way to my doorstep! I've heard such talk about this book, I can't wait to read it!


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