Vera and her brother Will live in a country still trying to recover after the Great Panic. The environment is in tatters which leaves them with little/ sometimes no water at all. There isn’t any rain, people, especially the government, hoard water like it is gold and the rivers have run dry.
When Vera meets Kai on the side of the road, she knows that he is special. He doesn’t go to school and it is clear that he does as he pleases which is quite unheard of in these times of despair. Kai knows where there is fresh, running water that could save everyone and knowing someone with this kind of secret can be deadly. When Kai disappears, Vera and Will set off on a rescue mission but on their way, they find out much more about what is happening than they could have ever imagined. Who would have thought that water could be the sole cause of all of this destruction and chaos?!
What I thought
The premise of this book instantly had me wanting it as soon as I discovered that it existed. Even the cover is so stunning that I would have bought it there and then in a shop had it been released over here in the UK. Luckily, my good friend Kirsty sent me her copy and I couldn’t wait to get right into reading this one.
Unfortunately, as interesting as the premise is, it doesn’t stay amazing for very long. The story starts off extremely fast and never really has chance to slow down. So much happens in so few pages that it all seemed far too rushed. The characters would move from one place to the next within the space of a couple of pages and I never really thought there was enough time spent in each place. This book would have worked so much better as a trilogy or at least two books to slow down the pacing and to spend time on the things that really mattered.
The idea though, is where the book excels. Dystopian is a genre in the YA market that is extremely popular now and I think had this one been done better, it would have been a huge hit. The Water Wars is set in a time where fresh, real water is a rare commodity and it has people at war. The world is a changed place and with the rivers and lakes drying up as well as a massive drought, water is so hard to come by that people will kill for it, literally. As well as this, people are getting sick due to the lack of real water and all of the other things that come with that problem. The thing about this book is that the possibility for this is happen is so real and so possible and that is what I found so good about it.
Where do I start with the main character?! Vera was supposed to be a strong, confident and exciting girl but she fell so, so short. What started off well, with the promise of her character growing an awful lot, went downhill extremely quickly. I did like Vera to begin with but it didn’t take long for me to want to slap her. It isn’t that she is stupid or anything and she is quite brave but she does make some silly mistakes and runs into danger at every possible chance she gets. Also, there wasn’t that likeability factor with her that I was wanting to get. The times where she is supposed to show her courage are the times where she appears weaker than anyone else in the book and I think that she could have been written a hell of a lot better.
As dull as the main characters are, some secondary characters make up for that. The water pirates were characters who were really fascinating and funny at the same time. As a whole, they had all of the fight, charisma and attack that Vera was supposed to have but didn’t. These characters, along with a couple of others, make the book go from passable to being OK for me. Without characters like these, I think I would have given up on this book quite early on and although I said the pacing was off earlier on, here is a spot where it did work. Without the fast pacing, these characters may not have appeared until much later on.
The Water Wars was definitely not a book for me due to its uneven pacing and weak characters but the initial idea is what made me read it the whole way through.