The Drowning is a thriller in which author Rachel Ward reels you in with a gripping prologue that captivates readers hook, line, and sinker. Never having read Ward’s previous novels (Numbers trilogy), I was intrigued by the premise of the book–surviving a horrific event with no existing memory of anything (name, family, where you live, all past events vanished). How can you reclaim your life when you are haunted by a past you can’t remember?
Although a compelling read for the first 50-80 pages, the book became dry towards the middle where the author was extending and introducing new scenes until she could get the reader to a rushed ending that lacked the closure an invested reader deserves. Despite some parts of the book growing stagnant, the emotional drama does hold fast and urge the reader forward (especially the moments between mother and son.) Though probably not the author’s intent, the graphic language, violent nature of one of the characters, and sexual exploits were more disturbing than the actual paranormal encounters that the character faces. The main character’s obsessiveness with his brother’s girlfriend and her wishy-washy nature towards him became annoying, and the “ghost” character goes from chilling, to more of an evil nuisance.
A dark, brooding, preternatural novel, The Drowning may have you questioning what is fact and what is fiction. If you’re a fan of The Drowning and want more of author Rachel Ward, be sure to check out her upcoming novel Water Born (also about drowning with paranormal elements),which is set to come out in August 2014.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic
Profanity/Language: 67 religious exclamations; 8 mild obscenities; 15 derogatory names; 23 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms; 14 f-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: Character is hit by a parent and remembers physical abuse in his past; mention of character’s sibling passing; character recalls sibling being physically abusive; character is told his sibling died in an accident; report of how a character’s hand became disfigured in domestic violence; creepy extended scene (about one page)–character has a paranormal experience; implication that a character killed an animal; character is accosted and threatened with a knife (about 1 page); frightening brief scene of character having a paranormal encounter; character thinks he has done something violent in his past; brief scene where character recounts how she was almost killed; character admits to threatening another character; character recalls that another character killed an animal; character admits to being a victim of domestic abuse, description given of how she looked after receiving abuse; extended scenes (first scene about 4 pages, second scene about 6 pages,) character has a disturbing paranormal encounter; character hits another character; alarming extended scene (about 9 pages) paranormal experience; character receives injuries while in a storm, some blood mentioned; character hits another character with an object; intense extended scene (about 7 pages); creepy paranormal encounter extended scene (about 1 page).
Sex/Nudity: Character views naked images of character; character briefly mentions his dreams about another character being naked (sexual undertones); implication of underage characters engaging in sexual activity; mention of Kama-sutra; brief scene of character masturbating; character mentions significant other has taken naked photos of her; character describes the sensation he feels when kissing another character; mention of character being naked (non-sexual); characters touch/caress one another in places covered and not covered by a bathing suit; few scenes of characters kissing, hugging, and holding hands.
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcoholism, thieving, murder, abusive relationships (verbal and physical), paranormal activity, mental instability, death of a loved one.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Implication that character’s mother is an alcoholic; character’s mother allows underage children to smoke and drink; a few scenes where underage characters smoke and drink; child character has witnessed parent getting drunk.