The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Water Wars

Author: Cameron Stracher

Published: January 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 256

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

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.

“Let us pray that the world which Cameron Stracher has invented in The Water Wars is testament solely to his pure, wild, and brilliant imagination, and not his ability to see the future. I was parched just reading it.”-Laurie David, academy award winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth, and author of The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming [From Goodreads]

Sorry! I don’t have a quote this time!

Review:

I can’t remember how I heard about The Water Wars, but I decided on a whim to purchase it from Borders. Perhaps I bought it because I’m always thrilled to buy a book – any book – but it’s likely I picked it up due to the blurb on the cover, which compares it to The Hunger Games. Any book deserving of that comparison must be great, right?

Well…

The Water Wars is certainly rugged, action-packed, and serious in ways similar to The Hunger Games, but explosions and bullets can only substitute so much. The book is sorely lacking in memorable characters and suspense. While I always knew something would go wrong every ten pages (and it would likely involve kidnapping or explosions), I simply didn’t care. None of it mattered. This lack of interest in the potentially page-turning plot sprouted from my inability to truly care for the characters.

Vera (I love that name) is cute. She’s likable, nice, loyal, and she probably does well in school. That’s about all I know after reading an entire book from her perspective. I never felt like I was a part of her or had a firm grasp on her past. I don’t think I could identify many weaknesses, faults, interests, or other characteristics of hers. I wasn’t as invested in her story as I might have been had she been more of a striking individual.

The secondary characters seemed to have far more potential. You’ve got the fatherly pirate, the dangerous beautiful woman with a past, the loving, protective, and proactive brother – why wasn’t one of them the protagonist? Vera’s sweetness and occasional feisty outbursts could only do so much.

A similar issue was Kai and Vera’s relationship. I felt like neither I nor she knew him well at all before she suddenly cared loads for him.

The world of The Water Wars is destitute, corrupt, and immediately appears hopeless. This is the only aspect of the novel that reminded me of The Hunger Games. The world is so similar. The government and rich corporations are almighty and omniscient. The ecosystem is in ruins due to the people’s careless wastefulness and Global Warming. In one respect, I suppose I was setting myself up to be at least slightly displeased by the story – I knew anything that focused on humanities careless treatment of the earth would be more preachy than I like.

Though the factors above weren’t my cup-of-tea, there were some things that Cameron Stracher did rather well. There is nonstop action from about a fifth of the way in to the end. Bullets! Explosions! One second they’re kidnapped by so-and-so, the next they’re freed, and then woosh! here comes [insert evil person’s name here] to add to the mounting number of kidnappings. Cameron Stracher took the advice to never let your protagonist sit for too long and throw every possible terrible experience at them to heart. Poor Vera and her brother, Will, hardly have a chance to catch their breath before something – or someone – else attacks.

Ultimately, I think The Water Wars had a lot more potential than it lived up to and believe Cameron Stracher’s books will improve in the future. The book didn’t strike me as something that would be very enjoyable to the Young Adult audience. However, I think The Water Wars is a good example of a story that might appeal greatly to teen boys!

4 Commentsto “The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher; Review”

  1. I love the cover for this one! Absolutely gorgeous! I am marking it "to-read" on Goodreads right now. Great review! 😀

  2. I think for dystopians, the world can only do so much and once you get to the point of unmemorable characters, it's just not gonna work. I mean, the thing about THG i remember most are 1) the world/capitol/games, and 2) Katniss. Anyways, looked like this one mighta had potential, but I dunno if I want to pick it up and be disappointed. thanks for the review!

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