January 23, 2011

ARC Review: Drought by Pam Bachorz

Publisher: EgmontUSA
ARC: 392 Pages
Genre: YA Dystopian
Book from Publisher*
From Goodreads. 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?
DROUGHT, by Pam Bachorz, is one of those books that, while reading it, made me absolutely insane. Let me explain. There is a lot of information thrown at you in a short amount of time. I had to figure out where this was taking place and what the rules of this society were. Not much of it is explained, so it is left to the reader to understand as you go along.

The Congregants live in a sort-of 'cult' society where they have very little, except for the Water that has kept them alive for over two hundred years. They are enslaved by Darwin West who is a very evil man and proves that to these people each day when he orders his guards (Overseers) to whip the people if their quota of Water are not fulfilled each day. This happens often since there is not much water to be found (title hint- drought).

In the beginning, this society of Congregants are tight-knit, until their youngest member and future Leader, Ruby, meets an Overseer who does not possess the same ideals as Darwin. A dangerous romance brews between these two and Ruby begins to question their current lifestyle.

About 1/4 through the book I wanted to stop reading. I searched the book sites for reviews of this book wondering if it would be worth it to continue. One specific review stuck out for me. This reviewer had the same questions I did, but she did say the end was worth the confusing ride. And after slugging through it, I whole-heartedly agree.

My biggest issues revolved around the Congregants. The Congregants constantly pray to Ruby's father, Otto, in the hopes of his return to save them all. They were afraid of their captors, which kept them on a tight leash but any thought about becoming free from Darwin was something they automatically turned down. WHY? I felt these people were brainwashed into staying because of Otto returning 'someday'. I think if they all rose up together against Darwin they could have broken free. Even though enough time had passed (200 years!),  it seemed that they didn't even want to be free. Ruby's mother was at the top of my List (not a good list to be on). There were times I wanted to reach into the book and smack her for holding Ruby back from a life outside their prison.

With my constant anger over the Congregants, I realized, that is probably the point. Bachorz skillfully pulled those emotions from me and ultimately made me enjoy the book. She made me invest everything into these characters. I enjoyed the strange relationship between Ruby and Ford. They bared their souls to each other and hoped in the end that would be enough for them to be together. After many revelations, I was glad I finished it. I was not prepared for my mind to wander about it days after finishing it. Bravo Bachorz, you managed to make me crazy then crazy for your book.

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*FTC Disclosure: I received this ARC from the publisher. I do not receive payment of any kind in exchange for a review. I do not receive monetary compensation from any book links in my review.

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