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Drought by Pam Bachorz

Drought (edition 2011)

by Pam Bachorz

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1611974,103 (3.25)10
Authors:Pam Bachorz
Info:EgmontUSA (2011), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Drought by Pam Bachorz




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Ruby is in no way your average 17 year old girl. This is perhaps most obvious in the fact that she is actually 200. She and her mother and the rest of the Congregation have all lived for centuries. Ruby's father, Otto, led them and gave them long life through the power of his blood, but then he left. In his absence, they have been forced into servitude, made to gather Water so that others may share in the magic. They lied though about what turns water into Water; Darwin West, the man who enslaves them, does not know that there is Water only because Ruby drops some of her blood into it. Like her father's, Ruby's blood has amazing healing powers. Only they may not be strong enough to rescue the Congregation from Darwin West. And Ruby is starting to suspect that her father may never return to save them.

Drought is a really strange book. Partly because I thought it was going to be a dystopia, which it did seem to be for a while, but then it turned out to be something else. I would not have picked up on the point of the story at all, if not for an observation by one of the characters; I would discuss it, because it's an interesting theme, but the reveal is a part of what makes the story interesting, so I won't. Suffice it to say that it is covering fairly new ground in teen lit.

The story is fairly slow moving without much real action; the characters spend much of the book gathering water and getting beatings. While a whipping may sound like action, it felt more like drudgery, because it happened to the Congregants most every day. Just because the book is slow doesn't mean it was hard to get through; it actually flowed along at a slow pace, like a sluggish river.

The characters were a bit of a weak point. Ruby was definitely most likable, which is good since you see from her perspective. I couldn't get caught up in her romance or her worries about the Congregation though, because I did not see why either one really deserved such devotion.

Religious themes are hugely important to the plot of this novel. The Congregation is so named because they all worship together. They worship Otto, their savior who promised to return (sound somewhat familiar?). They believe in him because of the miracles he performed (now?). A couple of clever things are done with this, such as the scene where Ruby and her love interest both insult one another's beliefs: she his in the Holy Trinity and he hers in Otto.

Overall, I really do not know how I feel about this book. It was just so strange! For that reason alone, I think I am happy to have read it, because it is definitely walking some fresh ground. My plans to read Candor, Bachorz' other book have not changed; this book was well-written enough and interesting enough to earn her another try. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
The first chapter or two were enticing, so I was looking forward to uncovering this story. Unfortunately absolutely nothing new is revealed after the first 50 pages or so and the ending is drawn out and insipid. What a shame. ( )
  whitebalcony | Jan 14, 2012 |
For 200 years, Ruby and the Congregation have been controlled by Darwin, a ruthless Overseer who forces them to collect water from the leaves of plants every morning and harvest it in great cisterns. This magical water stops aging, but there's something Darwin doesn't know - it's not the water itself, but the blood in the water that makes it special. Ruby's blood. Conflicted between leaving her family and all she's ever known or escaping and making her way in a new world, Ruby must choose between the two: her family, and Ford, the only man she's ever loved, and an Overseer to boot.

Though skeptical about this book at first, I was drawn in by the first few pages. The book seemed to take a magical hold over me, compelling me to read it in every spare second. I finished in about three and a half hours, and let me tell you, it was three and a half hours well-spent. The description was amazing, and the way the plot unfolded was truly astounding.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone - especially those who enjoy romances and slightly dystopian themes. :) ( )
  Sianatra | Aug 28, 2011 |
I was rather interested in this book based on the plot alone. Yes, it has bad reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but it does not live up to the promise the plot gives. In fact, it falls flat thanks to 1.) stupid characters, 2.) implausible plot developments, and 3.) an ending that wrapped up 400 pages worth of action in 10 minutes.

Ruby has lived her entire life living practically as a slave, gathering Water (dew collected daily from plants mixed with her blood which gives extended life and healing powers). She's 200 years old but looks and acts like she's 16. One of the Overseers, Ford, is the designated love interest of this tale. He's handsome, 18, and working as a slave driver to provide for his mother's cancer treatment. Ruby's mother claims to be looking out for the interests of the community while serving as a reverend for a Congregation that worships Otto, the original man whose blood gave life before he up and left the community to hide in the woods to continue on, but only after impregnating Ruby's mother. The main villain is a man named Darwin West, who is in love with Ruby's mother and, scorned, follows the Congregation into the woods and enslaves them in order to procure and sell the Water to the Visitor. The Congregation has lived there for 200 years and still lives as if it is 1810, waiting for Otto while Darwin manages to live on as a member of the outside community, recruiting Overseers to serve as guards from convicts and the desperate unemployed.

Some tropes employed in this book include Instalove (Ford falls in love with Ruby at first sight, and she pretty much does as well). More importantly than that, everyone in the Congregation is apparently dumb. They make Ruby their leader and then when they realize she is in love with an Overseer they cast her out - by the end, Ruby's mother has become a secondary villain, even trying to kill Ford and tells Ruby she is an embarrassment and not worth love because she "betrayed the community" by trying to save them and not wait for Otto (who is now a Jesus-like figure).

The ending seems like the author realized she needed to wrap it up and after 300 pages of harvesting Water, talking about Ruby's power, love, and how Darwin is evil, the Visitor shows up. I still don't get the Visitor - he just showed up and then left but managed to do so much in the process that concluded the novel. On top of this, Ford is also guilty of religious insensitivity, saying he can't love Ruby because worshiping Otto is heresy and a sin. Ruby, meanwhile, is guilty of "I love him, but I can't love him" in every chapter. We get it, we don't need to be reminded every five pages.

In the end, this book had promise, but just fell flat. Ruby was dumb, her mother was a b*tch (all she had to do was marry Darwin - it was obviously she cared about him, but she was saving herself for Jesus - I mean Otto), and Ruby and Ford fell in love despite them having nothing in common besides googly eyes. Oh, and there were several obvious editing problems (they're versus their came up at least twice, and punctuation usage was off). A good premise does not make a good book. ( )
  squirrelsohno | Jul 11, 2011 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Water is precious. Water has made slaves out of Ruby's people. While the rest of the world lives normally, Ruby and the people in what is referred to as the Congregation spend their days gathering water.

Although there is a small lake nearby, the members of the Congregation are forced to seek water in the forest. Each one armed with simple tools, a spoon, and a cup, they struggle in the oppressive heat to collect water drop by tiny drop. They are forced by the Overseers, led by a tyrant named Darwin, to gather their daily quota. Failure to meet their quota earns them a beating.

Members of the Congregation are unique. Ruby, for instance, is two hundred years old, but she doesn't look a day older than seventeen. Blessed from birth with some special power in her blood, she is destined to be the group's leader, perhaps sooner than even she expects.

The Congregants follow a mysterious leader they call Otto. According to her mother, Otto is Ruby's father. He left before she was even born, and now the group works tirelessly and waits for his return and the hope that he will set them free. But the wait is taking its toll on the members. Some are losing faith, and arguments between them threaten to weaken the group. Also, secrets known to only a few could either save them or cause a rebellion.

Most evenings, Ruby visits the huge cisterns that stores the gathered water until the Visitor comes to collect from the containers. The purpose of her nightly visits is to add drops of her own blood to the water, creating a life-sustaining element to the liquid. Like her father, she possesses the power that has allowed her people to carry on for centuries.

During one visit to the cisterns, Ruby meets an Overseer named Ford. He treats her kindly, and a friendship begins to form. Soon, Ruby finds herself thinking about Ford all the time and watching for him as she collects her quota every day. He may represent her chance for freedom, or her destruction if he reveals the mysterious power of her blood.

Pam Bachorz is the author of CANDOR, another unusual dystopian YA novel. DROUGHT presents the secret world of a group still living in the past but working to provide for the world of the future. Bachorz takes her readers into the life of Ruby and her people to illustrate the unreasonable and frightening control one group of people can hold over another. ( )
  GeniusJen | Jun 13, 2011 |
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Ruby's blood holds the secret to the Water that keeps her and her fellow Congregants alive and enriches Darwin West, who has enslaved them for two centuries, but when her romance with an Overseer, Ford, brings her freedom in the modern world, she faces a terrible choice.… (more)

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