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The Water Wars Paperback – Bargain Price, October 1, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In a futuristic world desperate for water, Vera and her older brother, Will, struggle to help their father eke out a meager living and care for their stricken mother. When Vera befriends Kai, a wealthy teen whose father is a wildcat water driller away for months at a time, he soon becomes a fixture at their home. After he fails to meet them one day, Vera and Will stumble upon evidence that he was abducted. Their search for their friend takes them far from their republic of Illinowa in what was the Midwestern United States through the republic of Minnesota and into Canada. Along the way, they are befriended by a band of pirates and taken hostage by a group of domestic terrorists. They eventually escape and track Kai and his father to Bluewater, the shadowy organization that has a monopoly on the water desalinization process and intends to exploit Kai's rare gift of divination. Stracher has created a realistic dystopian world ravaged by drought and taken from today's headlines as scientists warn of probable water shortages in the future. The fast-paced plot, nonstop action, and hopeful conclusion will appeal to teens, who likely won't mind that some of the minor characters are two-dimensional stereotypes. Others, such as the pirate leader Ulysses, are intriguing, fleshed-out characters who complement Stracher's likable sibling protagonists.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"THE WATER WARS is a gripping environmental thriller with a too-real message. Cameron Stracher tells a story with quick pacing, compelling characters and a vision of a frightening future." - Howard Gordon, Executive Producer, '24,' and author of Gideon's War (forthcoming 2011)
"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
"In the tradition of THE HUNGER GAMES, Cameron Stracher's WATER WARS is both a trenchant cautionary tale of a world drained of its most precious resource and a rousing adventure-story of the plucky young heroes who set out to save it. Perfect for young readers-but with more than enough substance for mom and dad as well." - Justin Cronin, author of THE PASSAGE
"Adult author Stracher (The Laws of Return) offers a bleak picture of the future in his first YA novel... It's clear that Stracher has put much thought into the effects of cataclysmic water shortages. His fast-paced, nonstop thriller doesn't hold back in its portrayal of a parched, desperate world. " - Publishers Weekly
""Preble artfully combines contemporary characters with classic figures from Russian mythology to create the second installment in this intriguing series... After reading Haunted, those who missed Dreaming Anastasia will likely want to go back to the first book in the series so that they can spend more time in Preble's multi-dimensional world." Kate Girard, RT" - RT
"Brilliant and terrifying, Stracher's water-desperate world will make readers re-think letting the water run before a shower or while brushing their teeth. As Will and Vera criss-cross this world, it becomes evident that Stracher has truly considered all of the different outcomes that a water shortage would have on a society. Stracher has created a large cast of characters with enormous skill that has each person standing out from the rest." - RT
"The thematic impact of The Water Wars was just as intense and disturbing, if not more so, than the Hunger Games novels. Readers of all ages should read this stark novel about greed and ignorance and apathy a wonderful book to initiate discussions (in classrooms, between parents and their children, book clubs, etc.) about environmental stewardship and how the actions of one person can change the world for the better..." - Explorations: The Barnes & Noble SciFi & Fantasy Blog
"This fast-paced dystopian story paints a compelling picture of a world devoid of an adequate drinking supply, caught between warring governments and special-interest corporations. The characters are colorful and interesting, and in some respects, the scenario is frighteningly plausible... It is a recommended read that will make readers consider their own wastefulness of this precious resource." - VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"Heart Racing: If finishing The Hunger Games left a gaping hole in your life, Cameron Stracher's Water Wars aims to fill it. Set in a dystopian future where a lack of water trumps all else, this adventure tale will keep you turning pages far into the night." - Campus Circle Newspaper
"The action here will take your breath away, with chase scenes and double-crosses... Author Cameron Stracher's dark novel is a page-turner and I was up way past my bedtime reading it. It's easy to visualize the Armageddon-like landscape that Stracher describes, and it's all-too-easy to imagine the futuristic scenario that makes water so precious.
Go without food for three weeks and you'll lose a lot of weight. Go without water for three days and you'll die... Don't consider going without "The Water Wars" at all." - Detroit Lakes Tribune
"Once you start reading The Water Wars, a simple glass of water becomes something special. The author has done a wonderful job of creating a bleak world, and he describes the dry, parched environment so well that I became thirsty just reading his words... The Water Wars is filled with nonstop action and it moves along at a breathless pace... The Water Wars is the kind of book I keep thinking about long after I've finished reading because it's based on a realistic scenario. And even though it deals with environmental issues and greed, it never felt preachy. It would be a great book for parents and teens to read together and discuss." - DaemonsBooks.com
""I know a river," says Kai. His words seem impossible yet tantalizing to Vera and her brother, Will, whose
mother is slowly dying for lack of clean water. Shaped by severe drought, their civilization is caught in a
power struggle among governments, and between governments and outsiders such as pirates and
environmentalists. When Kai is kidnapped, Will and Vera begin a David-and-Goliath rescue mission that
pits them and the allies they find against formidable, well-armed enemies. Set in a dismal future society,
this dystopian novel sets up a good premise... Once the plot gets in gear, the driving force is action... Readers
who enjoy the adventure may also find some social and ecological food for thought along the way." - Booklist
""...a powerful message. I would recommend this novel for those who enjoy dystopian novels with a hint of sci-fi thrown into the mix." - Sacramento Book Review" - Sacramento Book Review
""The Water Wars is a thought-provoking dystopian thriller with a valuable message about the dangers of assuming that earth's resources are unlimited... With it's conservation message and ethical dilemmas, The Water Wars would provide interesting material for a middle school book report." - Story Snoops" - Story Snoops
""...leaves you really thinking about the world and just how valuable the little things we have are. I like that Stracher took something that we don't usually think about a lot, like water- and flipped it to make readers aware of just how valuable this natural resource is to us... a thrilling novel that shows us what could happen if an important resource becomes scarce." - Zoe's Book Reviews" - Zoe's Book Reviews
""The book moves in a fast-paced style and changes settings rapidly. It really takes you on an amazing odyssey." - Bookish Delights" - Bookish Delights
""Vera lives with her brother Will and her father in the Republic of Llinowa. This is in the future when water is more precious than silver and gold, and politics is all about water. Then one day Vera meets Kia, and he doesn't even seem to care about water at all. When Kia goes missing, her and Will go looking for him. During the journey they will encounter many obstacles and make many new friends. Will they discover Kia's secret and also a limitless supply of water?
"The Water Wars" is a futuristic book where the world has mostly dried out and water is the most expensive and precious thing of all. This is an outstanding novel by Cameron Stracher, unlike anything else I've read. It's quite unique and engrossing. I am eagerly awaiting Cameron Stracher's next novel." - Night Owl Reviews
""Fast-paced, suspenseful and nicely developed...I would definitely read more by Stracher and perhaps more books from the dystopian genre too." - Books and Literature for Teens" - Books and Literature for Teens
"The characters will reach readers, but it's the plot and action that will hold their attention as well as the descriptive writing that brings this bleak future world into the minds of those that pick up this book. Another good addition to those who love dystopian novels." - YA Books and More
"Cameron Stracher provides a strong cautionary tale based on the premise that in the near future the liquid wars will focus on water and not oil." - Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The reason this receives three stars is because the idea is a fantastic one. The progression of the story is fascinating and I really wanted to know the outcome. The whole dystopia was interesting and well fleshed out with details that I wouldn't personally have thought of which always is a great thing to read for me. While the idea and the world were built out of wonderful, what I struggled with was the execution of the point of view and the writing style.
First, the execution of the point of view was strange and stiff to me. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that it's a grown man writing the point of view of a young girl. I'm guessing from the unemotional, flat voice of the narrator that Mr. Stracher doesn't have daughters or nieces or much interaction with young girls. I think he needed to have done a little more research because the way the story is told from her point of view it sounded like the recounting of a story that happened 5 years ago. There was no immediacy or emotional connection to what was happening.
And second, other than the dispassionate narrator, the writing style had something to it that I can't put my finger on but that made it really hard to enjoy reading. I love being immersed in the world of the book I'm reading and feel like I'm living it. And I would get there with this book but then something about how it was written would jar me right out of it. I couldn't even tell you what it was or why but after being ejected from the world several times I realized that it was becoming more a chore to read this book than something enjoyable. So I put it down and decided not to read anymore.
Let me just say this in conclusion, that I don't have a problem with the fans of this book or the author. I wish that I could have liked this a lot more than I did but I honestly couldn't. I tried for a few months and had to give up. I know that there are many who will enjoy this and I'm glad! And because I think that people should enjoy and read this, I will not be publishing this review anywhere other than here. I hope that Mr. Stracher will polish his research and writing skills and blow me away with a second YA book. He was almost there with this one!
Let's start with the back-story. There is none. Although we know some sort of war has rendered much of the republic of Illinowa waterless, it's really not clear why the war started. Certainly, Stracher hopes to impart some sort of warning here, but the reason th wars started doesn't become apparent until page 219 (paperback version): "The republics' water started in Canada, and the Canadians' water started in the Arctic, and the Artic's water started as rain from the clouds. But the Canadians had dammed the rivers, Europeans had drained the polar cap, and the Chinese had sucked the clouds from the sky." By this point, the reader doesn't care.
We don't care about the characters, either. They come and go, with no real development. We don't see a need for Vera and Will to help Kai, and Ulysses goes from enemy to friend in a matter of pages. Why does he want Vera and Will anyway? And then why does he want to help them? Oh, we eventually get it, but, again, the plot is so thin, it doesn't even matter. Other characters seem like they will offer some conflict or further the plot. But we are let down.
Additionally, the language seems forced at times. The Lexile (reading level) for The Water Wars is 750, a low Lexile for the proposed audience, but it seems as though someone read the manuscript and told Stracher to beef up the vocabulary. So we hear about a "pirate king" (which is language to appeal to kids younger than Amazon's recommended 12 to 17), yet we also read, "It was a parasite, living in symbiosis with its host..." and "a phalanx of soldiers." The simple metaphors and similes also seem added in for some not-achieved good measure.
In The Water Wars, Stracher hopes to build a dystopian novel in the style of Hunger Games, Unwind, Matched, Among the Hidden, and others in which children take the lead in righting a society gone seriously wrong. The Water Wars may hold some students' attention, but those looking for strong Young Adult dystopian fiction should look elswhere. This includes teachers who think they might want to use this as part of literature circles; while the book may raise some ethical questions, other books do the same much better, and there is not enough substance here to build on.
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