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?
Loved it! I was a little hesitant to read Drought, thinking my opinion of it would be swayed after reading Candor so recently. I try to space out my authors but Pam Bachorz just kept calling to me from my TBR pile. So glad I picked it up!
The highlight of the novel, something lacking in some of the books I've recently read, was character development. Ruby's growth from a naive inexperienced child to an independent responsible young adult was beautifully written. I appreciated how Pam ensured that Ruby made many mistakes rather than magically maturing into the perfect protagonist. I loved her internal struggle of how to behave and make decisions as a daughter, friend, girlfriend, and leader in her community. I sometimes found her thoughts and feelings a bit repetitive and overdone but in the end it seemed realistic for what she'd be going through emotionally after so many years in captivity.
I also enjoyed how romance played a vital yet not overpowering component in the story. Conflicted by her feelings for Ford she chooses to use him for information rather than running away with him, an option rarely explored in love stories. To find a protagonist unwilling to throw her life away for a man, regardless of how she was raised or what opportunities he could provide for her, was refreshing to say the least. Ford's flawed character was an excellent juxtaposition to Ruby's "keep-sweet" lifestyle. It was really interesting to note through the novel how Ford would definitely not be the main love interest if he had met a normal girl in New York: tattood, financial issues, problems at home, conflicted about his role in life, etc. While it might have made their romance even more unlikely, it made it realistic that each of them would find company in one another, each lacking the qualities of gentleness and indepence (respectively) that the other possesses.
However, there were a few things I disliked. Darwin was the "cookie-cutter" antagonist with an alterior motive and his own dilemmas to work through. I found it really unrealistic that he'd only ask Sula for her love once a year. After 200 years, wouldn't you get a little anxious and demand more? I found the whole "200-years" point to be the weakest part of the plot: Why had nothing changed? Was Darwin also drinking the Water to not age? There were many unanswered questions throughout the novel like how Darwin recruited employees and what The Visitor used the Water for? I hope these will be answered in a sequel, otherwise the reader is definitely left wanting more information.
Favourite Quote: Didn't have one actually. Sorry!
Recommended: Candor (Pam Bachorz), The Giver (Lois Lowry), Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt),
Laura (All the Word's a Page)