Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Drought by Pam Bachorz

Book Details
Drought by Pam Bachorz
Hardcover, 400 Pages
2011, EgmontUSA
ISBN: 1606840169

Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from struggling to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive--and Darwin rich. Escape from her certain, dreary existence, living as if it's still the early 1800s, when the Congregation was first enslaved. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient to the Water: her blood. So she stays, and prays to their savior Otto, who first gave Water to the Congregants... and fathered Ruby before he vanished.

Drought is a vaguely dystopian novel about a group of people held hostage away from civilization for 200 years. Tortured and worked to death (if not for the Water they collect), The Congregation patiently waits for their savior Otto. Ruby, Otto's daughter, is placed in the impossible position of having to chose between love and freedom or loyalty to those that depend on her.

Ruby's romance story line is the one very real feeling aspect of Drought. She and Ford come together in a way that is natural and their relationship moves at a seemingly normal pace given the situation. Ford appears to be the only person in the novel with a conscious.

The cult-ish mentality of the others gets old quickly and the characters are all very static. No one in the book changes from beginning to end, except for Ruby admitting maybe love is possible. Characters are beaten and characters die, but the book doesn't provoke any emotional reaction to these events.

Drought leaves important questions unanswered. While the plot is complete, the details go unresolved. We hear a lot about how the blood is special, but are never once told why. And where is Otto? Why did he abandon them in the first place? I finished the book solely because I wanted these specific answers.

Drought's premise starts out interesting enough, but it can't carry the less than empathic characters. It was hard not to just start screaming at them. I was left with the feeling that they were all kind of getting what they deserve. The book doesn't seem to hint towards a sequel so the lack of complete explanation is disappointing.



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