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.
I only finished The Ward a couple of hours ago and I am still feeling completely torn about it. One one hand, this book was innovative and fresh and brought something brand new to the dystopian scene, on the other hand I did feel like the book dragged on at places and I lost interest a few times and had to force myself through the hard parts to get to the fast paced and interesting action that happened later in the book. I honestly do feel like this book could have been great if it had been paced a little better, but for me there just wasn't enough momentum to keep it going.
Maybe it's my lack of imagination, but I think the fact that there wasn't much world building meant that I just couldn't stay interested in what was going on. For one thing, Frankel often goes into descriptions of the places that Ren is at but I just couldn't seem to make the image in my head, so I was completely lost... I also felt like there was a lack of background - there is this disease but no backstory to it aside from a few runaway sentences here and there. It was just things like that that made it difficult to imagine this world.
I did really like the drag racing aspect, and the characters around that were definitely some of my favorites. I really liked Ter and Benny, though my definite favorite character was Callum, who I really hope has some romance coming his way since I so preferred him to Derek, who I thought was icky from the start and after a certain discovery later in the book I found him even more creepy... For me, Ren was a character that I really struggled to like to start with, she made clever decisions at the right times but mostly she was irrational and though she's portrayed as the nice, tomboy girl the scene at the beginning where she's saying nasty things about some other girls made it difficult to like her.
Finally, the twist later in the book definitely added a new dimension to the book that made me continue reading when I was almost ready to put it down, so I applaud Frankel on her ability to throw in a twist like that at just the right time!
It wasn't a bad book, I did like it, I read all the way to the end despite it being around 450 pages and the end really gripped me, but I also didn't really like it... it just bordered on the edge of being a book that I enjoyed and a book that I wanted to put down as it seemed to jump between the two so many times during the book. Will I read the sequel? Quite possibly, yes, but it won't be at the top of my list and it will mostly be due to my huge crush on Callum.
Overall Rating: C-
Book released 30th April 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Book received from the publisher (via Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review.