Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Spotlight: THE WATER WARS

Today, I'm featuring another YA new-release.

Title: The Water Wars
Author: Cameron Stracher
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (Jan. 1, 2011)
Pages: 240

I would like to thank Sourcebooks for supplying me with a copy of this book to review.

Interesting Line: "His hair bounced on his shoulders like something alive."

Description: Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold...

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration.

It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn't seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn't go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us...
And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.

In between a Bring-Along & Multi-Task Read

MY SPLATS: I won't lie. I had a hard time with this story.

When I agree to do a book review, it's always with the intention of truly reading and reading into the story. I desire to examine the characters, setting, and flow so that I may give you an accurate view of the story. It is never my intention to put anyone's work down. This book is on the market, and the author deserve that credit. 

At first glance of the cover, I was excited. It's totally smashing. And on the onset, I felt a connection with the setting. As desolate and frankly depressing as it was, I could see, feel, and smell it. That was the author's point and I heard it. But after a while the desolate world created felt bland and frankly boring. I tried desperately to get into the story. The characters helped a bit. 

Vera, the main character, is bright and caring. And I liked the relationship built between her and her older brother, Will. I actually found Will's character very interesting and would have liked more of him at a deeper level. When Vera meets Kai, who I had thought was going to be a main player in the story, I was really hopeful. But after the first few chapters, he disappeared until the end. I kept thirsting to see him again, wondering how he and Vera would finally meld, but it never really happened. The vision created by Vera and Will's mother's illness and their father's sadness over it and having to bare all the financial and household responsibilities was good. But once again, I felt a bit of distance from this relationship, too.

The unexpected relationship between Vera and a character which would normally be perceived as a bad guy, the pirate, was my surprise. That was strong to me, and I appreciated the feeling Vera portrayed. I connected with her there.  

The actual action in the book was good. The writer used clever gadgets and phrases to enhance his world-building. A monopoly feel between those controlling this world was present throughout the book, which made me think of struggles within corporate America. How certain demographics seem not to matter and others do. There were tragedies, which also added to the canvas painted. 

Overall, I felt disconnected with the relationship between characters and their plight. Threading in a little more character growth would have most likely drawn me into caring about the world created and the characters a bit more deeply. Don't misunderstand me, though. The story definitely has merit, bringing to light a world we should hope never truly exists. It makes the reader think--which is always a positive--and be thankful for the world we still do have. Hopefully, even conjures the need to preserve our current world.

Those who enjoy YA dystopian and probably some sci-fi may enjoy this read.

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