Jan 5, 2011

Review - Drought by Pam Bachorz


Drought by Pam Bachorz
January 25th 2011 by EgmontUSA

From the Publisher:
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?

Review:
You would think that Ruby lives during the 1800s by the way she is treated, but DROUGHT is set in modern day America. Ruby and the rest of the Congregation are enslaved to man named Darwin West, and only live to do one thing, gather water. They scrape the water drops off every blade of grass and dewy leaf using only a spoon. Whether they have to fill a whole cup or two, this is the only life they know, day in and day out. Darwin makes their existence nearly intolerable. He is a tyrant, a brute, and abuses Ruby's mother, once the love of his life, to no end. Ruby and the rest of the Congregation believe whole-heartedly that one day their savior, Otto, will come and rescue them from their dismal existence. Like Otto, Ruby has a gift and a curse, her blood. Adding blood to the water, that they are tortured for, help her people heal and have a much longer lifespan. Her gift is kept secret, only the Elders know, and it is what binds her to the Congregation. Ruby wants to leave, walk into the forest and never look back, but her loyalty keeps her grounded. When Ruby meets an Overseer, Ford, she begins to think she can risk it all - her people - and leave her harsh world behind. Yet, this would go against everything she has ever known and she isn't sure she could leave her mother and the Congregation to Darwin and his brutality.

By no means is Drought an easy, breezy, walk in the park kind of book. It's dark, it's sad, but it's one hell of a story. I really can't compare it to anything else. I often have a hard time describing it. Although Ruby's blood is special and makes her look like a teenager even though she is 200 years old, there is no talk of magic. It's not science fiction, it's not really a Dystopia, but then again... I think around halfway I began to realize the religious undertones of the book. Ruby is under the influence of a cult. There is no God, there is only Otto. There is always, and only, Otto. There are ceremonies where the Congregation receives blood, and the Congregation constantly chant a prayer when someone is being beat. These events help fool my mind into thinking we are in the 1800s.

The relationship between Ruby and her mother was hard for me to wrap my brain around. Her mother relies on Ruby's gift to heal her from her daily beatings, and her mother relies on Ruby to be a good example for the Congregation. Ruby's mother has convinced her that they must not fight back against Darwin's authority. They are to accept what is happening and continue to pray for Otto to come. At times, this was very frustrating to read. You would think that after 200 years Ruby would have a mind of her own, but we quickly learn of the years of brainwashing. Although her mother loves Ruby very much, she has an agenda. Her mother is very manipulative, and at times I wanted Ruby to go against her, as well as Darwin. I finally get my wish, but the price Ruby pays is painstakingly high.

Ruby has no clue what goes on just past the woods. She doesn't know what kind of life is out there even if she did want to be a part of it. When Ford begins to friend Ruby, he describes his life and she doesn't understand a lot of things. Even though she is 200 years old, she has known no other life outside of gathering water. Bachorz does a fantastic job of convincing the reader that Ruby and the rest of the world are separate. I immediately was sympathetic and felt connected to Ruby, her mother, and Ford. They are all living the same dreadful life for one reason or another. Bachorz didn't go easy on any of them, and we often want Ruby and the Congregation to be rescued. I can tell you now, that doesn't happen.  

Drought is captivating and I highly recommend!

4 stars!

22 comments:

  1. Love the cover! I think Ruby will be an interesting character to unfold - thanks for the head;s up! :)

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  2. Love the cover and I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the review!

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  3. This sounds extremely captivating and maybe even disturbing and, thus, has been added to my list of things to read for sure!

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  4. Yay! I can't even wait to read it...I am just so swamped with books for review that I haven't been able to read for pleasure in the past week. But, I have an ARC of this book waiting for me...Love this genre!

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  5. I haven't heard much about this one, but it sounds really interesting.
    I'll look for it next time. :) Great review!

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  6. Ah! I want this! Lol. Great review- totally sold me on giving this one a shot.

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  7. I've just heard about this book and now I'm very interested in it with your review. Interesting that it is set as a contemporary. Hmm...

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  8. Great review! This sounds so interesting!

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  9. This book sounds bizarre- but I mean that in a good way. I really want to read this now. It definitely seems unlike anything I've read before. Thanks for the review.

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  10. I have this on my wishlist and featured it on my WoW post last week so I'm really glad to see that you liked it.

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  11. Ok I'm on the fence about this one.

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  12. I hope you all give it a try! Thank you for commenting!

    Jen

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  13. I've been highly anticipating this release. Your review makes me even more excited. Thanks for the honest opinion.

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  14. i love the cover and looks like an awesome read.

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  15. I wanted to read this and then I wobbled when I saw some mixed reviews. I think now I will just get it, thanks to you :)

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  16. This sounds so intense! I can't wait to read it- thanks for the review!

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  17. Gorgeous cover and this book sounds great. Thanks for the review! :)
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  18. Ah! I want to read Drought sooo bad!
    You're review has only made my need worse! Lol, thanks for the thorough review :D

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  19. This book looks very interesting. I've seen it floating around the blogosphere the last month or so, and I can't wait to get my own copy.

    Fingers Crossed!
    Rane @ The Lit Express http://www.thelitexpress.blogspot.com/

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  20. Dying to read this!! :) Thanks for the giveaway.

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  21. I had to run over here and read you thought, Jen. You touched on some good points.

    I just wish more questions would have been answered.

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