Angela Oliver's Reviews > The Drowned Cities

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
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's review
Jul 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: dystopia, post-apocalyptic, young-adult, dark
Read in July, 2012

I really enjoyed "Ship Breaker", the premise was interesting and the writing good. However, I was not so enamoured by this one, which is not a sequel but more of a parallel. It was just too dark, and too depressing and the characters kept making decisions that would lead them to more pain. And so violent! More characters died in this book than in many adult books I've read, so I would definitely recommend it for the more mature teenage reader. As the plot grew darker and darker, a part of me wanted to set it aside, but another part compelled me to keep on reading. I could not see things ending well, but humanity does shine through in the end, to a point. It's not what I'd call a happy ending, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

The descent of humanity into the drowned city war-land is just heart-breaking and the manipulation of the boys, turning them into soldiers so young, made me feel almost ill. I hope this is not the future for us, I truly do. Indeed, the most humane character in the book seemed to be Tool, the monstrous hybrid genetically engineered as a killing machine. He, at least, had a measure of empathy that he did not attempt to mask in order to survive.

Bacigalupi has created an exquisitely dark and terrifying world and I cannot flaw him for that. If you like dark, gritty dystopia novels than this is the book for you.

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