The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub. Date: January 1st, 2011
Age Level: 12+
Source: For review from publisher.
Synopsis via Goodreads
Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for
Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget.
Thought-provoking and filled with terrifying foresight into a world that could soon be ours, The Water Wars is an action-packed and compelling addition to the dystopian genre.
Vera was a very strong and brave heroine, though maybe a bit impulsive. Her curiosity and caring heart often got her into trouble but I really liked her character and couldn't help but hope she persevered. Her relationship with her brother, Will, was something I really appreciated and found refreshing. The two of them were so close and always there for each other. Will, alone, proved to be a great supporting character as well. Now, here is where things go a little South. I'd like to talk about Kai for a moment. It isn't that I didn't like him, because I did, but I often felt that throughout Vera and Will's whole journey to rescue him, it seemed they were putting themselves in too much danger for someone they barely knew. Here's the thing though, Vera and Will have known Kai for what I'm guessing was at least a couple of months before he goes missing. However, because the author flash forwards during the early part of the book, I felt like I barely got to know Kai. I really wish Stracher had taken more time to develop the connection between the characters versus speeding through their time together before Kai goes missing. All that being said, Stracher did create some very wonderful supporting characters, both good and bad. For example, I was surprised by the depth and development found in Ulysses, a character I loved. Then there was Nasri who turned out to be a lot nastier than I'd have thought at first. Sula didn't come on board til later on but I really enjoyed her kick-ass character as well.
The Waters Wars had a fascinating plot line as well as a very important message on what could become of the world as we know it if we aren't more careful. The setting was bleak; sickness, corruption, thirst, and skeletal building remains littered the landscape and made this the perfect scene in which for Stracher to set his story. There was suspense, action and adventure lurking around every corner, keeping me thoroughly engaged and quickly turning the pages. However, I did feel that the story was too fast-paced. It seemed that Vera and Will were continuously being captured just to escape or be rescued. I would have liked to have seen them spend more time in each location that they were in, giving me, the reader, a better sense of what all was taking place in the various places suffering the aftermath of The Great Panic. Also, I found some details, or occasional lack there of, to be a bit confusing and thought Stracher could have elaborated on said things a bit more. So yes, the plot of the story did have some flaws, in my opinion, but I definitely feel that the beneficial aspects far outweighed the not so good ones.
Stracher's writing style was foreboding and filled with rich and vivid details of the world he had created. Everything was so keenly depicted that I could often find myself feeling the same sense of urgency and thirst for water as the characters. The writing was easily my favorite aspect of this book and I relished every moment of it.
The ending was good but I guess that I was expecting something a little more mind-blowing and a little less happy. Don't get me wrong, the ending wasn't really happy or anything but with this being a dystopian, I guess I just wanted something a bit different than what I got. Not sure if there will be a sequel but the ending seems left open just enough that there could be one and I would, indeed, love to read more about the characters and world that Stracher has so impressively created.
In the end, I did have a couple of qualms with this story, all of which could have easily been resolved by extending the length of the book, allowing more room for sufficient development. However, The Water Wars still ended up being a thrilling, meaningful read that continuously kept firm hold of my attention and I truly believe that the dystopian genre will benefit from having it. I would recommend this book, especially to fans of the genre, and look forward to reading it again in the future. Hoping to possibly see more YA from Stracher in the future.
Read as part of Dystopian February at Presenting Lenore
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Friday, February 11, 2011
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 2/11/2011 06:28:00 PM