Rising sea levels are a very real danger around the world – though perhaps snot in the way that the author necessarily describes. Though, granted, after the hurricane we saw last year in New York City you might begin to wonder.
The Ward takes place in the 2100s after a catastrophic event caused the sea level to rise dramatically. It’s set in a NYC that is largely underwater and survivors live in the ruins of old buildings tall enough to poke out of the water over the remains of the old city. That sounds bad enough but to add to the hardships of the people in the city there is a terrible plague infecting the poorer quarters. It’s gotten so bad that the richer parts of the city have completely quarantined the lower wards. No one gets in or out and it’s been that way for years now. The only people who can cross the border are those working for the specialized police force – nicknamed the Blues – who tyrannize the people under quarantine and arrest those who are contagious as if being sick is the worst crime imaginable.
It’s in these poorer quarters that our hero, Ren, lives. She’s a plucky thing and an orphan whose made a place for herself in this crazy world as best as she could. In the poorer quarters there are people who have made a living out of racing futuristic hybrid crafts across the ruins of old buildings and skyscrapers. Ren is a racer – one of the best. She races to win and uses those winnings to make her best friend – a girl she met in the orphanage and who she considers a sister – comfortable in the last days of her illness. She also works for the Blues now as a water scout searching for what she thinks are just fresh water deposits hidden away in springs in the city. But there’s a whole lot more at stake – the future of everyone wealthy and poor – and Ren is just finding that out.
Now she finds herself in a tough position with the weight of the city on her shoulders. Throw in the fact that her bookie is suddenly starting to notice her that way, there’s this really hot and cryptic boy named Callum hanging around, and things just seem to get more and more complicated for her. And that’s all before she realizes the truth of what’s going on with the fresh water spring she’s just discovered…
So, the Ward?
It’s an interesting book.
I don’t entirely understand how most of the things in it work. Like, how are you searching for fresh water springs in abandoned buildings? I just don’t understand how that is in any way geologically possible. Nor am I entirely sure how the physics of racing work in this world but none of that really mattered. I could follow it. I enjoyed it a lot. Up until it started taking a supernatural sort of turn. Then it started to lose me.
I mean, some of the stuff just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and seemed really out of place to me in the whole grander scheme of things. .
What is cool, though, is Ren the racer. I like that they’ve got a girl racer whose sort of showing up the boys on a regular basis. In most racing stories the girls are on the sidelines and there is this assumption a lot of the time that girls just wouldn’t be interested in something like that. Which I think is absolutely wrong. Girls can be just as much of adrenaline junkies as boys and they can appreciate action in a book, too. Harrowing races, daring escapes, action and adventure? Girls like that, too. The only problem I have is how much Ren focused on how plain she as and how pretty other girls were and how much she wanted boys to notice her. So many YA books do that. I wish they wouldn’t. Being pretty isn’t everything. It shouldn’t be, either.
Ren is an awesome, strong female lead. Just let the girl be bad ass!
That said, the Ward was a good read. Not the best post-apocalyptic story out there but if you like the genre it’s definitely worth a read. I don’t regret it at all. The book is all kinds of exciting and it keeps up a very fast pace that keeps readers interested the whole time. It sets up for a sequel, too, though I don’t know if there is any plan for one to actually be released. They should, though. I think it would introduce readers to a lot more of this world the author had built and provide a whole new opportunity for fast paced action and girls being awesome.
In short, it’s a lot of fast paced action for the girls. Worth a read for the adrenaline junkies out there!