May 3, 2013

REVIEW: The Ward by Jordana Frankel

Title: The Ward
Author: Jordana Frankel
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Source: Edelweiss* 480 pages
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
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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.

My thoughts, feelings, and reactions
The cover to this book is what originally drew me in and had me begging to read it. Sadly, the contents of the this is not as striking as its cover. The Ward by Jordana Frankel was a book I wanted to love so bad, but it failed to meet any of my expectations. 

What I did like:

Main character and heroine: Ren

It took me awhile to warm up to Ren, but I think in the end I could say that I liked her. She wasn’t the best of heroines or even that great, but Ren was interesting. Her reckless adventurous side intrigued me, but her love and devotion for her sister Axen impressed me. I liked that Ren wanted to be a racer even when she knew it was dangerous and mostly filled with boys. She was bold, daring, and never backed down from a challenge and I found these traits set her a part from the rest. At times, Ren was able to make me laugh with her snarky comments and with her amusing inner dialogue. 

The passionate doctor

He was gangly, awkward, and a little weird but I adored him. He wasn’t physically strong, nor could he swim or even be a match for the other guy in this book, but he was smarter than everyone else. He was the only one who wanted to make a difference and actually do something in The Ward. He was sweet and I hope that Ren could see what I saw in him too. 

Ren and Axen

Ren didn’t want to love or care for anyone for fear of being alone. She has always looked out for herself, but allowed this younger girl to worm her way in. Ren becomes BFFs with Axen, basically considering her a sister with no blood relation and risks everything to save her from her sickness. It was inspiring. 

What I didn’t like:

Ren’s issues with breathing and not breathing. It’s ridiculous. It's just too much of this..

"Then I can breathe, and I realize that I hadn't been."
"I have to force myself to breathe."
"I can't breathe, there's nothing for me to breathe."
"I exhale, realizing that I too wasn't breathing." 

And my personal favorite..
"I hold my breath... but I already am."

*rolls eyes* And that's just some. It goes on and on nearly every chapter.

Descriptions, you are too much. 

I like great descriptions that easily allow me to build the world in my mind. Yes, I was able to see some parts (especially with the helpful cover) but most of the descriptions in this book were too much and over the top. I felt that the more it was described, the more jumbled it seemed. The descriptions for bubbles, the buildings, the beginning race, the underwater crash and some more were so freaking long and drawn out I thought it was never going to end.

You can never have too much plot.

Wrong. You can and this book was all over the place that I could barely follow. There was the racing, the DI government, the sickness called Blight, the freshwater, the science, the history of the spring, the Tetai, the people of the Isle vs. the Ward, the Upstate, and the cure. Every single thing in this book was interesting on its own, but it’s one after the other and it got so overwhelming. I found myself going back and rereading more than I could ever want. All of these things I mentioned were touched upon maybe some more than others, but nothing gets developed fully because too much was going on. Even now, I’m not even sure what the heck I read. 

Overall, The Ward wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. While I enjoyed some parts of this book, it just didn’t deliver the amazing I expected. It lacked in something I can’t pinpoint and most of the book just annoyed me. It was too long, too hard to understand, and didn’t give me any gut wrenching emotions it should have.
*Thanks to HarperCollins for sending a copy for review


  1. Wow.. seriously. sad sad day. But you even gave proof! way too much focus on not being able to breathe. I mean.. come on man.. it's as natural as breathing! hahahaaha I joke. Anyway. I wish that this had lived up to the hype. But I always trust your opinion!

  2. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you thought you were going to :) Dude, I didn't notice the fact that Ren refused to breathe normally, but I've been seeing it a LOT in YA books recently. How can you be holding your breath without realizing it? It's, like, impossible, last time I checked.

    Anyhoo, fantastic review, Jessirae! I'm glad you at least enjoyed Ren's character a little :)

  3. Lol the breathing issues are overdone, I would have probably been annoyed as well. As much as I love vivid and solid world building, I hate it when descriptions feel like info dumping. I'm intrigued by all the things you mentioned about the plot, it sucks that the execution wasn't done too well because the book does sound interesting.


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