Ruby lives with her mother in a community tied down by slavery. She, along with the rest of the community, are forced to collect water every day, using spoons and cups, to fill large cisterns before a mysterious "Visitor" comes once a year to collect the water. The residents, each alive for more than two hundred years, suffer daily beatings, being starved by the slaver, Darwin, and his Overseers, and fighting for water during a horrible drought, all while placing their faith in Otto...who disappeared years ago, leaving them to fend for themselves, and happens to be Ruby's father. Still with me?
In the midst of their daily horrors of abuse and starvation, Ruby also has a unique weight upon her shoulders. Her blood can heal. When dropped into the precious water she collects, it heals bruised and broken bodies. Wanting to attempt an escape, but knowing she owes the community the opportunity to be healed from the wounds Darwin afflicts, Ruby is incredibly conflicted about what her life means and what she is supposed to do. Toss in a forbidden love interest and you're in for one crazy story!
Though a lot is going on within these pages: slavery, strange cult-like community, living for hundreds of years, magical blood, faith etc., it all flows in a thrilling way that will completely suck you in. I definitely found myself turning pages as fast as I could, wanting to know what was going to happen next and becoming deeply involved in Ruby's stories. The characters are interesting and have a certain depth to them (even those I didn't like!) and your heart will break as you watch a few of them go through some really hard scenes. I know I'm being a bit vague here, but anything else would be a spoiler!
I was left a little unnerved by the ending...not sure if Bachorz is going to write another book or not. She left it open for a sequel, but it also could have just been a "leave-it-to-your-imagination" ending, which probably wouldn't make me very happy. There are questions left to be answered. I definitely wanted more of Ruby's story and almost feel that the "end" could have been continued a bit more, if a bit of the heaviness was removed from the middle of the book. A couple of scenes could have been shortened or eliminated without harming the overall story. I did really love the whole past-meets-the-modern-world concept and thought of the movie, "The Village" the entire time I was reading.
I really got into this one and am crossing my fingers for a 2nd book. If you're a fan of dystopian-esque books, definitely try this one out!
Review copy provided by publisher