War of Rain by H. W. Vivian
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Release date: Jan 9th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy
*A copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange of an honest review*
I've got a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It's one those books that had a LOT of potential, and they DID live up to it, but only to a certain level. This is going to be a bit of a long review with some rants and maybe rambles, so hold on tight!
(Taken from Goodreads)
Fifteen year-old Miri lives in a desert village called Boreala, which competes with the city of Stratos for Rain – the equivalent of Holy Water. During a confrontation while gathering Rain, Miri accidentally kills a citizen of Stratos, and unintentionally starts a heinous war. Now it is up to her to find the God of Rain, Kalono, and ask Him for an invention that can bring both peace and war before Boreala is destroyed.
I'm sorry, but I can't seem to find a lot to say about this section. I'm just going to list them down. Please excuse my inarticulateness.
1. The setting was gritty and violent and well-portrayed.
2. The main character, Miri, developed extremely well. She was definitely different by the end of the book. Stronger and wiser and more self-confident.
3. Tropos. It was a nice place, and I liked the story behind it, which was well-thought out.
4. The plot. Probably the best part of the book. It was exciting and unpredictable, keeping you on your toes.
Alert: kind of a rant below. Proceed with caution.
Okay, so mental illness is definitely being featured more in books now, especially in YA contemporaries, but this is the first time I've come across it in a fantasy book. It's really great for diversity, and I really appreciate the author for trying, but it wasn't pulled off very well. You can tell that there was very little research done for this book.
So let me explain myself. When Miri goes on a killing spree near the beginning of the book, it's because a "voice" urged her to do it. It was kind of weird, because she wasn't identified as a schizophrenic then, but later in Tropos, when she explained the "voice" and her actions to the inventors, they put it down to schizophrenia, and then did nothing about it.
You heard me. Nothing. They just only said that, because Miri was in a better environment than she was before, she wouldn't be affected anymore. And the best part, she actually WASN'T. No more voices in her head, no more urges to do crazy things. She acts like she was never affected by a mental disorder at all.
Maybe I'm not a psychiatrist, but I DO think that a mental illness doesn't just...disappear. You don't just STOP being schizophrenic just because you were transferred into a better environment, anymore than you would be cured of depression the minute you stepped into a party.
What happened to therapy? To medication? Is it even POSSIBLE for a person to just stop having a mental illness? With no help at all? Does that even happen? Because if it does, PLEASE tell me. I am truly asking you to give me an answer, because as far as I know, no, that does NOT happen. And yet it did in this book.
This was pretty disappointing to me. I HAVE read Cait's post about diverse books not being about diversity, but I don't think the author really succeeded here. By all means, DO have a character with a mental illness as a protagonist in a book which doesn't focus on the illness, but at least make it realistic. The way Miri just suddenly "gets better" can be received in two ways.
People will either think the author too lazy a writer to actually research about mental illness or find a proper way of incorporating it into the book, OR, they will find the author insensitive and I can tell you that a lot of people actually suffering from the illness or have friends/relations suffering from the illness will be affronted or even strongly insulted by the way schizophrenia is looked at in the book.
It feels like the mental illness was just pushed aside because it was too difficult to write about, which makes it look like a poor ploy to make the book interesting or diverse. I, personally, felt cheated. This is what I meant in the beginning about potential.
Also, there are some infodumps which I disliked.
Alert: definitely a rant below.
Hey, Ranu, haven't you actually had enough negative things to say about this book? I hear you ask. Unfortunately, I want to discuss something that irritated me far worse than the schizophrenia that disappeared all of a sudden.
This book has the absolute WORST case of instalove I have ever read. I know that's a strong claim to make, but I'm going to stand by it.
The instalove in this book was so bad, I actually didn't even see it coming. Let me show you.
Miri meets Philippe, the insta-love interest, spends about a day and half with him, barely speaking to him, brings him back to her village, doesn't speak to him AT ALL until it was time for her to leave again. She then has a nice holiday in Tropos for TWO AND A HALF YEARS, all the while barely giving him a second's thought, returns, and then BAM! She's in luurve.
When Miri first told Philippe that she loved him. my mouth literally fell open. The instalove is so bad, you don't even see it coming! It's ridiculous, at it tells you how underdeveloped their relationship was. The sudden romance left me shaking my head in disbelief, because I actually honestly thought this was one of those rare YA novels without a romance.
Although I did enjoy the action and adventure, there were many aspects of the book that kind of disappointed me. Better research and a more convincing romance is really needed, but an okay read that I enjoyed, for the most part.