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The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker #2)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,439 ratings  ·  923 reviews
Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.
In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young ref...more
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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George Scott It doesn't matter the order you read them. They are unrelated IMHO. Only one character is shared in the stories, and he has a small role in one of…moreIt doesn't matter the order you read them. They are unrelated IMHO. Only one character is shared in the stories, and he has a small role in one of them.

George Scott No. It takes place in the same(ish) time as Ship Breaker, but a different place and different story.
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 18, 2012 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Mockingjay, Chaos Walking
As seen on The Readventurer

The Drowned Cities' predecessor (and loose companion) Ship Breaker has already won Printz and was short-listed for National Book Award, and rightfully so. But I am wondering right now - was it not a tad premature to give Paolo Bacigalupi all these accolades? Because, frankly, The Drowned Cities is a far superior novel in comparison and, I guess, it is hard to expect similar acknowledgment of it, even if it is deserved? It appears, most of these awards are given once an...more
Emily May
May 11, 2012 Emily May rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana, Catie

Sometimes a book is just all that much better for being so disgustingly horrible. For not glossing over the gruesome details, for keeping the reader hooked in wide-eyed horror. This is that kind of book. The author doesn't waste his time on niceties, this story's about the harsh realities of survival and the unfortunate lengths that people have to go to in order to just stay alive. This book is nasty and gritty, and yet none of the violence and gore felt gratuitous, and above all else Paolo...more
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Being unemployed can be nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to read a book all the way through, barely stopping for meals or a drink. Since this was such a page-turner, I surely would have been late to work or missed an appointment.

Though this is the sequel to Ship Breaker, there is a different set of characters. Mahlia and Mouse are two young refugees who fled their home to escape the terrible violence going on in the Drowned Cities. Now they are in the ca...more
4 1/2 stars

Many of you (and I’m guessing possibly even the author himself) will laugh me off this small stage when I confess that I find Paolo Bacigalupi’s novels to be incredibly hopeful. Seriously. Now, admittedly, this is an author who writes all about the end of the world as we know it and what we’ve done to bring ourselves here. The Drowned Cities is about the irrevocable loss of childhood innocence, the harsh realities of survival, and the grasping, selfish nature of humankind. His novels...more
I was a little saddened after finishing Wind Up Girl and discovering that the Bacigalupi’s next book was going to be a young adult. I find this an annoying trend of authors of complex, adult, and sophisticated speculative literature to chasing YA dollar. Teens have everything these days grumpy old me says, leave me my speculative fiction. So instead of rushing out and getting his next title I decided to wait and see. I got my hands on both Ship Breaker and its sequel/sidepiece Drowned Cities and...more
4.5 stars

What a great fun read. This book was almost as good as Ship Breakerby Paolo Bacigalupi. This is the second book in the series, but it revolves around an entirely different cast.

Mahilia and Mouse, two likable young adult protagonists gave this book a lot of feelings and heart. Unlike Ship Breaker this book was not as gloomy or filled with an overwhelming feeling of death and decay. Nailer, from the first book, had a much more difficult life and a far gloomier outlook on his future.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

The physical world is oppressively present in Bacigalupi's fiction, as it is in Margaret Atwood's dystopian novels (Oryx and Crake; The Year of the Flood): a world changed for the worse by global warming, with island nations wiped out and coastal areas no longer habitable; a world further ruined by human shortsightedness, where genetically engineered plant viruses introduced into the environment by agricultural conglomerates in order to wipe out competitors' crops have m...more
Set in the same fallen world as "Ship Breakers", this book follows the story of Mahlia, a young girl left to survive on her own after the Chinese peacekeepers abandon their efforts to stop the fighting in what is left of the eastern seaboard of the USA, now called the Drowned Cities. Mahlia is what the call a cast-off, a child of a Chinese peackeeper and a resident of the Drowned Cities. When her father is evacuated back to China, she and her mother are targeted by fanatical "patriots" for colla...more
I've had plenty of time to mull over this book and my review, and yet...I still can't quite find words for it. There's just something about this novel, something about the way it just sucks you in, that it's hard to write about. Let's start out, then, with some things about it that are concrete.

The futuristic, dystopian setting is fabulous. It's dark and gritty. It's incredibly believable in a way that is unnerving. As I wrote in my review of Ship Breaker, it "took those mediocre dystopian The G...more
There is a small country in West Africa called Sierra Leone which is rich in diamonds. In 1991 a civil war erupted and left the small country in a blood bath. No home was safe. Families and friends meant nothing to many. Common practices for recruiting soldiers were to kidnap boys at the appropriate age, drug them until addicted, then keep them semi-drugged while they committed their first atrocities. They were then addicted to narcotics they could only acquire through soldiering and their neuro...more
Francesca Forrest
(review duplicates what I posted on LJ)

I loved Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, the story of Nailer, a boy who works stripping ancient oil tankers in a globally warmed futureworld, whose life changes when he and his friend Pima discover a shipwrecked luxury clipper. The world was vivid, and the characters were wonderful, so I was very excited to be entrusted with an advance copy of The Drowned Cities, which the publisher describes as a companion to Ship Breaker.

The Drowned Cities does share one...more
One of mybiggestselling points in any book is tension. I talk a lot in my reviews about tension, and generally it's because I'm talking about the lack of it. But what I mean when I talk about tension is a lot of things, actually. It's not just the internal tension in the story, between characters, say, or two factions. That's only part of it. When I'm talking about tension, I'm also talking about the way your gut reacts to a story. The best stories have tension you can actually feel. They cause...more
Rarely does a sequel stand up beside an outstanding first book in a series and equal its quality and intensity, but this own does and more: DROWNED CITIES is actually better than SHIPBREAKER in two important ways. It maintains a breakneck speed of narrative momentum without losing fantastic characterization and writing. And even more: it requires less investment and time to get caught up than the original novel did, and because the world is the same, but the characters are different—all except T...more
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It's like driving with the handbrake on.

Paolo Bacigalupi is the Hugo and Nebula award winning author of one of my favourite all time books, The Windup Girl. It was for adults. It was brutal and dark and filled with the vision of a genius. The fact that he is choosing to waste his talent on writing for children upsets me.

Drowned Cities is a dystopian novel, filled with teenage characters fighting a multi-generational patriotic war that can never be won. His characters are simply trying to surviv...more
I'll read pretty much anything by this author at this point. Drowned Cities takes place in the same world as Shipbreaker, but there are no crossover characters except Tool. Tool is pretty damn cool, and I want more about him. Hard to tell whether this came before or after Shipbreaker timeline-wise.

Our main character is Mahlia. Her father was Chinese military who came to the Drowned Cities (near Washington DC after flooding destroyed much of it) to try to stop the collapse of American society int...more
Kelli Lee
I've come to realize that when reading a book by this author any sort of resolution come the end will inevitably be a pipe dream on my part. Is it fair to make that assumption after having read two of his books? Maybe not. And yet on the other hand, I wonder if there can be a resolution in a standalone novel when dealing with the topic of children being forced into slavery, being forced to join a killing militia? Child soldiers trained to partake in horrific acts of cruelty. I get the author's a...more
I decided to read this and The Drowned Cities since I enjoyed The Windup Girl so much. Ship Breaker is definitely YA and like The Windup Girl is a reasonable preview of how Earth will look in 50 or 100 years. The gengineering is much less certain than their ecofictional aspects.

Four stars for the science, characters and plot. Three stars for the complexity and layers. It is all rather straight forward and obvious. There's not a lot to think about unless you're ignorant about global warming or a...more
I thought this was fantastic. I love this kind of gritty, hard-hitting, fearless YA...well, I think it's YA. I don't know if it's YA. I don't care. It was a great read. It was a little explain-y but that was overshadowed by the wonderful characters and their plights. Good good stuff.
Jason Cruz
Feb 15, 2011 Jason Cruz marked it as to-read
I want to read this because it is the sequal to "Ship Breaker" and I thought that it was a good book
While reading Paolo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities, I found myself wondering whether a young adult SFF novel can discuss child soldiers.

I've seen young adult authors tackle emotionally charged themes before. John Green considers suicide and its impact on the survivors in Looking for Alaska, while Sarah Dessen manages to discuss battery in Dreamland quite well.

I'd normally expect SFF to be excellent at taking on big ideas, regardless of how emotionally charged they are. What SFF does tends to do...more
Krista Stevens
War is hell - in case you didn't know - even in the future in a dystopian world - especially when it's fought by children who are pawns of the few surviving adults. It took me a bit to find my bearings with this book as I kept expecting to see references to the first book - Shipbreaker - but there are almost none. This story takes place in Washington, D.C. (which I could have figured out by the cover, but that explanation was slow in taking shape in the story)and follows the plight of two childr...more
Ship Breakers was a bit slow and took a while before I was anything more than just flipping pages; only much later, after the people in it had themselves wrapped around me, did I give a fig. Reading DROWNED CITIES was a little bit like that, only better. Things went fast, that for sure. There’s a girl and there’s and boy; and they each have each other; there’s a doctor who’s too good to be true… and when things start happening and someone’s about to die, I was split between her keep your head do...more
My memory may be imperfect, and I may not be remembering Ship Breaker properly, but The Drowned Cities felt so much weaker, more conventional, and less engaging than its predecessor. It's set in the same world, and I think some of the characters cross over (at least one of them does, I'm pretty sure) but I felt lost and disoriented in this area of the brave, wet new world the author has envisioned.

While Ship Breaker took place around the Gulf Coast, here we've moved up north to what the people c...more
Generally speaking, I usually really enjoy companion books that are linked to but not direct sequels of other books.
I know that I'm supposed to love this book, and that I'm supposed to be moved by the fact that the author tackles such a heavy subject as "child soldiers"...I think I'm supposed to be able to react genuinely to the horror because, by setting the story in a dystopian future United States (the Drowned Cities are the DC metro area), we can both relate to and distance ourselves from th...more
The Drowned Cities is totally brutal. I was cringing and crying and gasping throughout this book. How can you do this to your characters, Paolo? HOW COULD YOU?
Give me sequel or give me death.
BAYA Librarian

The Drowned Cities is a worthy companion to Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker; however, where Ship Breaker is full of hope, The Drowned Cities is a harder, harsher story. The Drowned Cities is a dystopian novel which looks at the ugly side of war. There is no glory here; only revenge, survival, and a threatening world full of violence. The story centers around Mahlia and Mouse, two young refugees who’ve bonded together and taken up with a charitable doctor in a jungle village. They’ve made a life for th...more
Erin Stuhlsatz
Companion to Ship Breakers, which was also great!

I had heard that The Drowned Cities surpassed Ship Breakers and was pleasantly surprised to find it indeed so!

Of all the dystopian American novels recently, Bacigalupi's are the most realistic (in my mind). If the US government and society did collapse for whatever reason, I doubt we would develop a complex caste system (Divergent) or random districts with highly evolved transport (Hunger Games). Total chaos seems rather more our style. In Drowned...more

Reading a truly impressive YA novel: Paulo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities. In a post environmental and civil collapse, The Atlantic seaboard south of Boston is a war zone of competing warlords and militia groups. Civilization still exists in China and the Northeast US, but Washington DC is a battleground of militias fighting over scavenge since the Chinese peacekeepers withdrew.

The author is doing a really, really good job of telling a story while showing kids what life is like in Iraq or Cent...more
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Paolo Bacigalupi’s writing has appeared in High Country News,, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. It has been anthologized in various “Year’s Best” collections of short science fiction and fantasy, nominated for three Nebula and five Hugo Awards, and won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best sf short story of the year.

His debut nov...more
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“The problem with surviving was that you ended up with the ghosts of everyone you’d ever left behind riding on your shoulders.” 23 likes
“I do not fight battles that cannot be won. Do not confuse that with cowardice.” 16 likes
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