Opening lines of the book:
“The year before he joined the Reclamation, when he was still seventeen, my brother Will set a new high score at the YouToo! booth at the Gaming Center.”
Why I read it:
I’m curious about dystopian fiction and this particular future sounds all too plausible. Plus I scored a signed copy of this book at BEA last year.
What it’s about:
In a future where water is incredibly scarce, fifteen-year-old Vera and her older brother Will befriend the mysterious Kai, the son of a driller. When Kai disappears under suspicious circumstances, the siblings set off to rescue him.
What I thought:
I found the beginning of The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher quite slow, and it didn’t help that Kai rubbed me the wrong way from the start: when Vera first sees him, he spills the last remaining drops of a glass of water into the dust. In a world where water is so scarce that men will kill for it, this gesture seems both foolhardy and arrogant. The pace of the book picked up when Vera and Will went looking for Kai, but unfortunately, the story didn’t have enough tension for me. Vera and Will get themselves into some serious situations, but I never felt like they were in any real danger, which diminished my enjoyment of this book. Stracher also makes the mistake of summarizing some of the action (via Vera, who is the book’s narrator), rather than showing us what is going on.
“When he was a boy, there were still green fields and blue lakes. Kids played sports outside, like baseball and football, that existed now only on the screens. You could lie in a tub filled with warm water for no reason except to relax. It seemed foolish and wasteful and wonderful—to live as if the sky were endless and time itself had no measure.” (p. 31)
“A new beginning, I thought. Without hunger, thirst, or war. A river could be like a time machine: Step into the same place and it was already changed. But I wondered if there could ever be enough water to start again.” (p. 33)
Although the world Stracher creates is all too believable, the story he tells unfortunately is not. While the book was interesting enough to keep me reading (to find out what was going to happen), I found the ending simplistic and disappointing. I can’t recommend this book.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for providing me with this book to review.
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