Title: The Ward (The Ward, #1)
Author: Jordana Frankel
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: April 30, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Dystopian)
The Ward had the most gorgeous dystopian cover I have seen in a while. It really gave me hope that I will finally be able to read an authentic dystopian novel. The Ward, from the cover, is set a couple of years after the Wash Out in 2048, when the world, or at least the coastal cities of the US literally drowned. Due to pollution and the now contaminated water, a new disease, HBNC, emerged, which is known as the "Blight". Now, fresh water is like rare diamonds, where only the richest of the rich get to indulge in such delicacies. However the poor people, the ones our world always seems to treat them as scum, are now enclosed in an area known as The Ward. This is where the main protagonist, Ren, is from.
Ren, at sixteen, is mobile racer, which I found to be pretty cool. At such a young age she is the bread winner of the family, even if her family consists of herself along with Aven, a girl two years younger than her that she met during her stay in a foster house and ended up loving her like a sister. Aven actually contracted the Blight, therefore she spends all her remaining days in bed. I liked how Ren, someone who you might assume is coldhearted at the beginning, cares so much for Aven to do anything for her. However, I wanted to witness that through their relationship. Unfortunetly their relationship felt a bit too superficial for me. I LOVE sibling bonding and love, from Layken and Kel from Slammed to Jamie and Wanda/Melanie from The Host. You can imagine that I was anticipating that sibling love that always makes my heart break, but it never came. Yes Ren calls Aven "Feathers" (I never got to know why) and people say actions speak louder than words, but I guess I needed some more words to convince me.
For the World Building, I do have to say I was slightly confused at the beginning. Being a Chemical Engineer, and taking a course in water treatment and another in waste management, you can understand how I was skeptical that somehow fresh water, or at least desalination and distillation techniques were nonexistent. I did get it later on that the water is contaminated, meaning the contamination can't be removed using the above techniques, but I wished I knew that way before, in the beginning, so I wouldn't have had a "huh?" face whenever I read about the lack of water in this world. I also wished we knew more about the origin of the Blight, as well as what other cities (say ones that aren't on the coast), as well as other countries are dealing with this wash out.
I do believe the bright spot in this novel is the main protagonist. I found her to be SO kick butt and independent. I loved how she had a mind of her own and held her ground in front of anyone. She was never intimidated into doing anything she believed was wrong and even her crushing on a guy never clouded her judgment. Speaking of crushes, there is a possibility of a love triangle, while not present in this novel, might be in the sequel. There is Derek, who is the receiver of the crush and then Callum. At the beginning, I was so conflicted on who to root for, but by the end of this novel I am already a solid member of one of the teams (not going to say which). I WILL say that I hope to get more history and background for each of the guys, especially Derek in the sequel.
This novel is 480 pages, you can imagine the amount of action scenes and car chases (whether above or under water) that happen. I have to say that the last 100 pages or so of this novel started to lose my interest but the beginning was very solid. I can't wait for the sequel because the scene the book ended in was horrid, in a sense that you want to know what happens. Overall i really enjoyed this novel and while I don't completely label it as a dystopian, it feels more of an adventure novel, I would still recommend it to both fans.