Friday, January 21, 2011

Drought by Pam Bachorz

Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.

She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.

So she stays.

But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known? (from GoodReads)

I wanted to love Drought, I really did. I thought that it was extremely interesting and I was able to get sucked into the story. But the world-building was a bit confusing and not as seamless as I would have liked, which prevented me from absolutely loving the story.

Let's start with the good: Pam Bachorz has created a very engaging world. It's a world that takes place in our time, but it is the world of a small cult in New England. The members of the cult, called Congregants, are forced to collect sacred water in the forest for hours on end every day, with little food and less freedom. They are under the thumb of the evil Darwin West and his Overseers who keep everyone in line. But what everyone doesn't know is that the water isn't actually sacred, it's Ruby's blood that she adds to it that has incredible healing powers and grants eternal life to its drinkers. This blood has allowed the Congregants to live for over 200 years while they wait for their messiah, Otto, to return. I thought this whole aspect was very interesting, even though it wasn't that well explained. I also loved the relationship between Ruby and Ford. I was surprised that he was the first Overseer with a heart, but he geniunely cared about Ruby and wanted to help her to escape her terrible life.
And now the bad: as I said before, I thought the world-building was a little weak. In the beginning, I was so confused. I wasn't sure why the Congregants had to walk around in the forest collecting drops of water with spoons and cups and I wasn't sure if they had actually been living for 200 years. I also didn't understand any of the character motivations. The people could have risen up and attacked Darwin and the Overseers at any point in their 200 year enslavement but no one does because they are awaiting the return of Otto. Their blind faith seemed to me almost ridiculous, since they were waiting in extremely unhumane conditions. Ruby's mother and the Elders are almost comical in their heartlessness; once you read the book you will see what I mean.

Besides the less than stellar world-building, I still enjoyed Drought and was pulled into the story. I liked Ruby, even though she could be annoying, and she seemed to be a more level-headed character. I liked the book, but I would be warn readers that you might be confused in the beginning.

Release Date: January 25, 2011
Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: ARC from publisher.

2011/Egmont USA/400 pages.

1 comment:

LM Preston said...

Love the well-rounded review. It made me want to gather more before I move this up on my tbr list.