Thank You to Bloomsbury USA for providing me with an advanced copy of Benjamin Warner's novel, Thirst, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - What would you do if suddenly all of the water disappeared? Driving home from work on a summer evening, Eddie Chapman, becomes stuck for hours in a mega traffic jam. With no help or end in sight, Eddie joins others in abandoning their cars and getting home on foot. A former track runner, Eddie jogs miles to his home and on the way, makes a unsettling discovery; the local riverbed is dry and has turned to ash. His wife, Laura, makes it home hours later. They find that the taps in their home run dry and that the electricity has stop working. The worst realization is that they are not sufficiently prepared for a disaster. Without water or emergency help, the neighbors quickly turn to looting and distrust. How long can Eddie and Laura survive?
LIKE- The premise is intriguing. Living in Southern California, where we are experiencing record droughts, this story took on another layer of intensity. It definitely made me paranoid about my own disaster readiness and I'll admit to going out and buying extra bottled water after finishing Thirst. I also drank many glasses of water while reading. Warner's story is one that hit me on a visceral level.
The premise also drives the stakes and intensity of the story. Humans simply cannot survive long without water, so the characters are almost immediately desperate and feeling ill effects. This all seems very realistically rendered and makes for stomach-in-knots read. I like how the desperation very quickly reveals the true nature of the characters. This is a primal story. It will immediately make you think about how you would react in the same situation.
I liked the micro-world of the story. The majority of Thirst takes place in their home or in their neighborhood, a place where they should feel safest. However, this safe place quickly rots and every decision that they make is life and death.
DISLIKE- It's minor, but I would have liked clarity regarding the time frame of the story. It would have been great to have the story broken into chapters with headings noting the time since the disaster. i.e.- 20 hours After
The beginning of the story was jarring, jumping right into the action of Eddie running home. There were other areas where the pacing also felt rushed. The situation is already so intense, that I felt like I needed more room to breathe.
RECOMMEND- Yes, especially if you're a fan of disaster stories. In tone, Thirst reminded me of one of my favorite novels, Cormac McCarthy's The Road. If you're lagging on your disaster preparedness, read Thirst as a cautionary tale. Bleak and terrifying.