Book Review: Drought by Pam Bachorz

DROUGHT by Pam Bachorz
Publication Date: January 25th 2011 by EgmontUSA

Summary: 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 Overview:

  • Tough to get into
  • Doesn’t really explain enough as to why the Congregation lives the way they do
  • Ruby is a strong female character who I grew to respect

Ford, the new Overseer, basically sums up the Congregation: it’s more or less a cult. Ruby and the Congregation are enslaved by Darwin West and they collect Water by running spoons through the leaves of plants and collecting them in pewter cups. Darwin tortures Ruby’s mother and friends on a daily basis and the only thing that keeps them moving forward is the thought that Otto will come and save them. DROUGHT is a different dystopia from the others that are popping up in today’s YA market. It’s very well written, but there wasn’t enough in the novel to satisfy my needs as a reader.

Otto will be their savior – if he ever comes. One of the biggest problems that I had with the novel was the Congregation’s undying loyalty and belief that Otto will come and save them. It’s been 200 years. Is he ever going to come? I found that I couldn’t relate to Ruby in that way because of her ardent belief that they will all be saved. Their devotion for Otto also struck me as very religious and I couldn’t connect with Ruby.

I just had a hard time getting into this book because there were so many elements that I thought did not get explained enough. I was able to follow the story, but the novel only explained so much. I just couldn’t get how a community such as the Congregates could be so enslaved for such a long time. In 200 years, they are still collecting drops of water every day. They’re still stuck in the 1812 – the year they’ve been enslaved. I kept asking myself questions about why the way things were in the book, but it hampered my ability to enjoy the book so I tried to push down those thoughts.

I did start getting into the book nearly a third into it. DROUGHT isn’t action-packed. It’s about Ruby’s development as a character now that she’s finally growing up. She’s faced with different choices that puts the Congregation at risk. I finally started to gain respect for Ruby once she starts questioning authority and bends the rules a bit. I grew to like her more and more as the story progressed.

DROUGHT‘s ending was very well done. I felt satisfied as a reader, but it also made me wonder what would happen afterward. I did have a few issues with this book, so I can’t say that I loved it. It was a decent read, but nothing to be excited about. I will, however, read Pam Bachorz’s other book, CANDOR when I can get my hands on it. She’s a great writer, and I hope her other book will be more to my liking.


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