Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review: The Ward by Jordana Frankel

The Ward by Jordana Frankel
Book One of The Ward duo
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I wanted to like this book so badly. It was easily one of my most anticipated dystopian novels of 2013, and debut novels of 2013, and I was hugely disappointed. I hate that feeling of utter disappointment, when a book is so that great.

I love the cover of this book. If that is one thing that I must about this book and Katherine Tegen Books, it is that the cover and font treatment of the book is so well done, and I absolutely love it. One of the reasons why I wanted to love this book so badly was for the cover. If I loved this book, I would have bought a beautiful, shiny, hardcover copy to put on my shelf. So not happening.

So, what I liked. As far as dystopias go, this one has a good grasp of it, and there is even a fantasy element in this book, which makes it even more likable. I was confused by the fantasy part, but at first, I was thrilled by its presence in this novel.

The flying transportation ships were awesome! They reminded me of Star Wars, if I am understanding them correctly (I could be completely wrong; the description of the races and everything were not amazing).

I LIKE Callum, one of the interests. Maybe I don't really think he is a love interest (see more about this below), but I really like him as a guy. He is so sweet, and such a genius. I just wanted to hug him some times throughout the book!

Overall, I really did not like very much about this book, especially since it confused me and I was bored most of the time, but I do want to see how this duo series ends. I WILL be reading book two, despite what you see below.

What I Did Not Like:

I just... I don't know where to start. When I finished this book, I knew I was not particular pleased with it overall, but I can't describe why. There were many small things that I did not like, and many larger things that I did not like. Overall, the execution was just, ah, pretty poor.

I feel like I never connected with Ren, which is not good, since she is the protagonist, and this book is in first person. All she cared about was her adoptive sister, which I totally understand. But this made Ren lack some level of depth. I also found her a tad bit annoying throughout the book. She makes poor decisions, and it seems like she does not learn from her mistakes. Also, some of her inner monologue of thoughts are silly.

So I was frustrated with Ren. I was also frustrated with the plot. I liked it sometimes, but then, as the book went on, I just got tired of it. It seemed like Ren and Callum and Derek were doing the same thing, over and over. And while this book is very fast-paced, a lot of the action is either poorly described, or brief.

The love triangle was just BAD. I mean, from the beginning, we know Ren likes Derek, her bookie. And then we get the scientist, Callum, and I think Ren like him, too? But I can't say that for sure, because nothing really romantic occurs between them, and there does not seem to be any changing feelings between Ren and Callum. I understand the subtleties of romance, but I don't think this was subtle: I think this was just nonexistent. Also, to make things worse, I really didn't care for either guy, because neither of them had any depth, in my opinion.

That's my next point. Most of the characters were static, one-dimensional characters. I understand that SOME characters need to remain unchanging, but it was literally almost every single character that was static and one-dimensional. Not cool. That just made me not care about any of the characters, even Ren's sister.

I'm confused about the ending, and what Derek is. Guardians? Okay... and the water. So, water has powerful properties now? Somehow, none of this seemed believable. And yes, this is fiction. But I have to believe that this could happen, right? Use my imagination? Well, the author did not make me feel like this was possible, or real. 

The world-building wasn't so great, and neither was the writing style, or the writing itself. The characters were weak, the romance was so blah, and the story wasn't believable. Overall, I was not impressed.

Would I Recommend It:

No. I so wanted to like this book, but I would not recommend it to anyone. Sorry!


2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. I rounded this one up because I will read the next book, to see how the story ended. 

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Very helpful! I'm glad you didn't like it overall because I need to push some books off my TBR list! haha I see what you mean about's always annoying when they can't justify their 'stupid decisions'. Also, when I think of Ren I think of Ren from Nightshade...and those are two totally different characters. ;)

    Thanks for the review!

    1. I feel like I should have pushed this one off my TBR list... it as just bleh. 3 stars is pretty generous. And I know what you mean about Nightshade and Ren - I hated that series. Glad I could help!

  2. I've been looking at this one - mostly because of the cover - but now I think I'll be giving it a miss. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Tasha @ A Trillian Books xoxo

    1. I KNOW, THE COVER! I was so disappointed! I wanted to buy the book for its cover, and hopefully, for its good content, but the content was not so good. Thank you, Tasha!

  3. Boo, this cover is gorgeous, I guess that should be the first tip off for me that this may not be the best book :( It sounds cool but I hate when I can't connect with the characters, when I read a book I want to see a character grow over time. I think I will skip this one, thanks for the honest review!

    1. I know what you mean! I really wanted to buy this one. I'm sorry it doesn't appeal to you! Thanks for stopping by, Andrea!

  4. I think I liked it a bit more than you did, but I see where you are coming from for sure. It has quite a few flaws, tho I really loved the concept of the world and I thought Ren was fairly strong, despite not being able to totally connect with her. I'm interested to see where the next one goes. I do love the cover of the book.

    1. That's good! I loved the concept as well, but I think the execution was bad. I'll definitely be reading the next one! And oh, the cover. I love it so much, which is why not liking this book makes me sad :\


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