It’s a bank holiday in the UK the day it happened. People are outside enjoying the weather and having barbeques. The British weather never fails to ruin a day off work so of course, it rains. But this day, the rain is different, it kills. Soon the water supplies are contaminated and the nation is scared to go outdoors. Forever watching the skies, the survivors, 15 year-old Ruby among them, try their best to carry on.
I’ve seen a few reviews that say Ruby’s annoying. And well, she is, but she does come across as a fairly authentic teenage voice. We’re used to mature protagonists in young adult really. Heroines that take charge and show themselves in a positive light. I don’t expect the average person, let alone teen, would be prepared for what she has to go through. Ruby’s self-obsessed, naïve and also, a little bit in denial. It might hit a little close to home, be uncomfortable to see the negative qualities that so many people possess laid out, but fiction isn’t always about liking the characters.
I can see that it might ruin your enjoyment though, so if annoying characters are a big no-no, stay away. I was frustrated and angry with Ruby at so many points. Not the obsessing about the kiss, but her wastefulness of water. At one point she loots some beauty supplies (this sounds awful, but at this point in the story, she really doesn’t have a whole lot to occupy her, it sort of makes sense). She does a fake tan that goes horribly wrong, and she decides she will use the tonic water to wash it off. As Simon tells her, she has to THINK, something she really doesn’t do at times.
On one hand, I like the fact that Ruby isn’t running round saving the day, but the pace does start to stagnate. I do feel sorry for her, but then she’ll go and open her mouth and say something stupid. She can be anti-grown-up at times but with loss comes understanding. Underneath her bluster is a scared little girl, you just have to stick with her long enough to see that.
The science behind the contaminated water is a bit iffy. We’re in contact with water all the time, not just the rain, and it’s brushed off that small amounts, such as dew, are harmless. But if the pathogen needs to be in certain quantities, then why is it so fast acting? And they are going outside after it rained all the time. Sometimes I think it’s better not to explain these things. We don’t need to know the details for this particular story.
The Rain is published by Pan Macmillan and will be available in paperback from 17th July 2014. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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