Monday, April 19, 2010

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Characters: 17/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 18/20
Overall: 90/100 or A
Source: Publisher
In the future, groups of scavengers dissemble grounded oil tankers for parts that are needed in order to survive another day. Nailer is a teenage boy that searches for copper wiring to make quota. His poverty echos the reality in present day third countries and the harsh reality of his abusive father haunt the reader. After a hurricane, Nailer discovers an exquisite clipper ship that is beached along with the old oil tankers. Along with all of the treasures on the boat, there is a gorgeous, yet wealthy girl. He could strip the ship and live a life full of wealth or he could save the girl, Nita and hope that she will lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.
Ship Breaker is an intensely original book. It is a dark dystopian novel, which shows both the positive and negative aspects of human nature. Nailer has lived a limited life and he has never left the tiny beach that he was born and raised on. He dreams of sailing the seas in hopes of a better future, seems impossible, until Rita comes. I loved that he has so much hope in the reality that he lived in. He also rose above the selfishness and cruelty that his father had. His best friend Pima was really strong and ruthless, but I liked that she respected his opinion and let Nailer lead the way at times. Rita was hardworking and I also liked that she didn't feel entitled for anything. Tool was a creature that was part human, dog, hyena, and tiger. I found this hybrid to be very interesting. I also liked that Tool broke the expectations of that hybrid, by not being extremely loyal. The plot was slow to beginning with, but it slowly gain momentum. Overall, it was an adventure filled story and was a page turner. Global warming had caused there to be extreme hurricane and most of the south are now in ruins. The sea is also now full of pirates and the Arctic Ocean is now water. The difference between the poor and rich was so extreme. The rich ate off of golden plates, while the poor were lucky to eat. The originality in this book seeps out from the well crafted world created by Bacigalupi. This dystopian novel makes me interested in his past works. I really enjoyed his writing style. Overall, Ship Breaker is a book full of action, betrayal, friendship, fresh ideas, and what family really should be. I highly recommend this book, it is unlike any dystopian novel that I have read in a while.


  1. So excited! I just got this in mail and I can't wait to start...though I have to wait. It's just sitting there taunting me!

  2. I want to read this one so bad!! I will have to wait until Summer to have the time, but I know it will be worth it.


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