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Ship Breaker #3

Tool of War

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This third book in a major series by a bestselling science fiction author, Printz Award winner, and National Book Award finalist is the gripping story of the most provocative character from his acclaimed novels Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities.

Tool, a half-man/half-beast designed for combat, is capable of so much more than his creators had ever dreamed. He has gone rogue from his pack of bioengineered "augments" and emerged a victorious leader of a pack of human soldier boys. But he is hunted relentlessly by someone determined to destroy him, who knows an alarming secret: Tool has found the way to resist his genetically ingrained impulses of submission and loyalty toward his masters... The time is coming when Tool will embark on an all-out war against those who have enslaved him. From one of science fiction's undisputed masters comes a riveting page-turner that pulls no punches.

"Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA map with 'The Hunger Games'...but Bacigalupi is one of the genre's masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally imaginative story lines." --Los Angeles Times

336 pages, Hardcover

First published October 10, 2017

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About the author

Paolo Bacigalupi

116 books4,452 followers
Paolo Bacigalupi is an award-winning author of novels for adults and young people.

His debut novel THE WINDUP GIRL was named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten best novels of 2009, and also won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Internationally, it has won the Seiun Award (Japan), The Ignotus Award (Spain), The Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis (Germany), and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (France).

His debut young adult novel, SHIP BREAKER, was a Micheal L. Printz Award Winner, and a National Book Award Finalist, and its sequel, THE DROWNED CITIES, was a 2012 Kirkus Reviews Best of YA Book, A 2012 VOYA Perfect Ten Book, and 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. The final book in the series, TOOL OF WAR, will release in October of 2017.

His latest novel for adults is The New York Times Bestseller THE WATER KNIFE, a near-future thriller about climate change and drought in the southwestern United States.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 258 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
July 10, 2017
It gave him a certain dark satisfaction to see humans floundering so. It was ever the way of them. Diving always into danger without thought, always optimistic that they might win out. And so they died.

This is such a great series. Bacigalupi's stories of a future ravaged by climate change and corporate greed have stood strong through the dystopian craze of a few years back, and they continue to drag me in and convince me so completely that this future world is plausible.

Tool of War should be read only after finishing Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities. Old characters are at the centre of this book - Tool and Mahlia, as well as other surprises from the past - and reading the other two is important to understanding the world.

There are a number of reasons I think these books stand out from the towering pile of YA dystopias. For one, it is a real dystopia; things actually suck like all hell. It's nasty, gritty and bloody, just as a dystopia should be. People and corporations are out to get you, and they have some seriously big weapons. In Tool of War, Tool is the bioengineered war beast we met in The Drowned Cities, and the company that made him wants him dead. He evades capture and assassination attempts until it all culminates in a final dramatic confrontation.

The second reason is this imagined future is utterly convincing. The author draws on things that have already happened, that are already happening around the world right now. Things such as the recruitment of child soldiers, the threat of climate change, corporations capitalizing on catastrophe, and bioengineering. He uses these elements to weave a horrifying world, but none of the elements are outrageous, or difficult to believe. It feels real.

In a screwed up way, I love the dark, awful drama of this world. I love the questions being asked, the moral ambiguity, the discussion about whether augments deserve human rights:
Words like ownership came easily when a creature was grown from handpicked cells, developed in a creche, and purchased from a selection of other augments.
And yet, they were not identical. They had feelings. They wept at loss. Delighted in success. They were people.
Except they weren't.

I do not know if we can expect more books - to be honest, for a long time, I had no idea this book was on the way. But I hope Bacigalupi continues to write more set in this world. It's a fascinating, terrifying place, made all the more so by the way it feels uncomfortably close to what could actually lie in our future.

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Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
December 21, 2017
Impressively brutal.

This installment of the series is kind of like a futuristic version of Jason Bourne. Essentially, it's about Tool on the run from his creators. Only Jason Bourne in this iteration is a half-human augment and the story is set in a not-so-far-off future ravaged by climate change and corporate interests.

The story itself is rather uncomplicated, but elevated by Bacigalupi's remarkable world building (I would say, out of all dystopias I've read, his version of the future is the most realistic), and Tool is an interesting and almost completely new type of a hero. Tool of War is very bloody as it is, but I kept wondering how it would have played out if written for adults. Not sure it could have been more brutal, however it could have been more morally ambiguous and less gentle with the main characters. Bacigalupi definitely tries to go a little easier on his teen-book characters.

I wouldn't read Tool of War without first reading Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities. I don't think it stands on its own.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,845 followers
June 12, 2021
Decent end to the series. Frankly, I'm actually rather pleased that it was always going to be Tool being the MC of the series. Maybe I just have a weak spot for beasts trying to overcome their conditioning, of choosing your own pack, but this IS considered a YA for a reason.

And you know what's even better about this?

No romance! Just tearing people's heads off and ripping out their hearts. It's what I always like to see in a YA. :)

Satisfying end. :)
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews252 followers
January 21, 2018
5 stars 

Tool of War book 3 in the Ship Breaker series. What a great fun read. This book and series are YA gems by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Tool, the augment and scary killer from the first book is the main character in this one. The the plot, the scope and even the storyline are a real blast.

Like other Paolo Bacigalupi novels, Drowned Cities is a fast and incredibly enjoyable story that both adults and young adults will enjoy. I could read his novels every day. There is something raw and real about his end of the world scenarios that just touch you the right way and make you feel like there is still a glimmer of hope in humanity. His writing style is somewhat simple.  He adds in the little details and some world building thereby  creating  a story that is rich and filled with the human spirit. I love that in this book, it turns out that Tool was more human than most of the soldiers and other side characters portrayed.

If you haven't read Bacigalupi, and are a fan of dystopian type young adult novels, than his works should not be missed. For pure enjoyment the Ship Breaker series is five big stars. I am a huge fan!
Profile Image for Justine.
243 reviews131 followers
October 22, 2017
Well, what can I say? Bacigalupi has done it again. Out of the three books in this series, Tool of War is the most intense, bleak and heart-pounding installment. I feared for the characters, despaired over the piling character deaths and rejoiced in moments of triumph. Tool is one of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered in science fiction, and I loved all the psychological dilemmas he went through and how he managed to overcome them through meaningful realizations. I just love how Bacigalupi subtly integrates ideas on the nature of self and humanity and the meaning of family/kin in relation to Tool. Unlike John Green, Bacigalupi knows how to make readers think of these philosophical ideas without straining the narrative with pretentiousness or lack of subtlety.

This might be my second favorite book in the series (the first being Ship Breaker). As expected, the world-building is spot-on. If you are interested in the idea of a realistic dystopia tackling environmental disasters, corporate greed and wars involving children, then this is the right series for you. I can only hope that Bacigalupi has more books on the way. There are so many narratives waiting to be uncovered in this fictional world.
Profile Image for Nancy.
81 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2017
This book was so good. Bacigalupi brings you right back into his world without missing a beat. The strength of his stories, to me, is their realism. They are not only emotionally true (and brutal in their truth), but they are also frighteningly and viscerally real. This dystopia is less stark fantasy than bleak possibility. You feel like it really could happen. But of course that’s in large part due to the fact that so many of his horrors are grounded in reality. There are child shipbreakers, child soldiers, slaves/classes both subservient and feared. Death via-drone does rain down, an unannounced and sudden calamity. (Some would argue corporate interests already control most of the world and drive much of our bloodshed.) The books in this series should be right up any socially conscious teen’s alley and are ripe for discussion.

As for Tool of War specifically, this book functions as a sequel to Ship Breaker and Drowned Cities and as the long awaited backstory of Tool, the autonomous man-beast hybrid and fearsome ally of the previous books’ protagonists. It is satisfying on both counts and more than met all of my expectations. It is an excellent read, replete with all of the tension and violence you’d expect of a man-made war beast’s struggle for survival, but also surprisingly heartening and certainly not without a sliver of hope. (Okay, there's a lot of gore and darkness, but there is some light. Think pack. Think kin. )

While the book does offer a bit of a recap of events from the series' previous entries (the good kind that actually fit the flow of the story and don’t feel like info dumps), and while the story is independent, it really won’t pack as much punch and could be a bit confusing for those who haven’t read the first two. So go ahead and read the entire series if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it. Bacigalupi is a master at his craft.

ARC provided by NetGalley.
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,054 reviews350 followers
October 30, 2019
Ahoy there mateys! This be the third book in the ship breaker series.  I loved books one and two.  However I cannot get into this one even though it stars one of me beloved characters.  I have no idea why.  I tried this one at least four times in both hardback and audiobook format.  None of them would stick.  I do think this is a case of me and not the author.  Cause I love his work and even featured him in me Broadside No. 17.  So this is just chalked up to being a miss.  I will not be attempting to read it again.  Though I am looking forward to seeing what the next Bacigalupi book will be. Arrrr!
Profile Image for Paul.
886 reviews36 followers
December 18, 2017
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

I've been waiting for a follow-on to Bacigalupi's earlier YA novels "Ship Breaker" and "The Drowned Cities," and it's finally here. I devoured it in two days and wish there was more, but at least the stage is now set for a fourth installment, so I'll be patient.

The principle characters of the earlier novels, children and teenagers of a near-future world profoundly changed by pollution and climate change, ruled by warlords and corporations who rose with the fall of nation-states, populate "Tool of War," which is set a few years on, the children now teenagers, the teens young adults. They are survivors, now wiser in the ways of war, power, and corporate politics.

The main character in this book (also present in the earlier novels, though in smaller roles) is an augment, a human with spliced tiger and hyena genes, incubated in a tube and raised in a creche, trained in warfare and obedience. He is the Tool of the title, now breaking the chains of genetic subservience and striking out on his own, seeing himself as new kind of human, no longer a servant.

Here's a relevant paragraph from my review of "Ship Breaker":
"Ship Breaker" is killer good: a young adult adventure set in a post-environmental disaster, post-nation/state world where powerful clans control global trade conducted by sailing ships and dirigibles, and society is divided into two classes: the very rich and the very poor. It's a Margaret Atwood Oryx & Crake scenario on steroids, and like Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi has rich narrative and descriptive powers: you can see the world of the shipbreakers on their oil-stained beach, you can feel the rust and sharp edges on the steel plates the breakers pry off their beached oil tankers, you can hear the hammer blows and the pop of forced rivets, you can smell the fuel oil and sweat. There's nothing theoretical about Bacigalupi's writing, nothing that requires page after page of dry explanation; his fictional world is immediate and gripping, fully revealed through the context of a kick-ass story, all but real.

Here's another relevant paragraph, from my review of "The Drowned Cities":
I really should list this as a banned book and beat the rush, because when the helicopter parents who have challenged "Lord of the Flies" and "The Hunger Games" see the darkness here, they will surely put "The Drowned Cities" on their target list.

Relevant how? Because some of what impressed me so in the earlier novels is missing or muted in this one. The lives of the young protagonists are less gritty and feral. The physical world is less threatening and immediate, though there are intriguing elements, as in the islands and arcologies of Seascape, the former Boston. The exciting feeling of reading something those who want to limit our knowledge and control our thoughts might try to ban or burn is absent as well. It's as if Bacigalupi has damped the fire that burned in the previous novels ... only a little, mind you, but it's noticeable.

Still hella good though, some of the best YA science fiction around, and I'll be there for Ship Breaker #4.

p.s. Many of the ideas and concepts explored in the Ship Breaker series come from Bacigalupi's masterful adult science fiction novel "The Windup Girl." Another of his adult novels, "The Water Knife," inspires parts of the future world revealed in "Tool of War." Any fan of Bacigalupi's YA fiction should read his adult fiction as well.
Profile Image for Mark.
1,347 reviews104 followers
November 11, 2018
I am so glad I returned to wrap up this Ship Breaker trilogy. I read the second volume, the Drowned Cities, over five years ago. There are plenty of reviews available on these books, so I will just give my quick two cents worth: If you like smart, beefy and rousing Sci-Fi, with terrific characters, give this one a try.

It also worked great on audio.
Profile Image for P. Kirby.
Author 3 books69 followers
September 20, 2018
This was a straight up revenge fantasy.

Not that I'm complaining. I adore Tool and want to be part of his pack. Especially since he'd be mighty useful when my dog and I encounter assholes with off-leash dogs, who think the leash law doesn't apply to their special puppy, because, "It's okay, he's friendly," just as Mr. Friendly starts shit with my dog.

Seriously, there are days when me and my pup would love to have a big buddy/bodyguard when out doing our daily walk. Because the assholes is strong with some of my fellow dog walkers (the worst are usually over the age of 40 and male, just sayin'. So much for the so-called civility of the older generation).

But...I digress. Tool, previously seen in Shipbreaker and Drowned Cities, is back. As anti-heroes go, Tool is wonderfully complex. In previous novels, his story arc as a genetically engineered super-soldier (augment) who is evolving both a conscience and independence from his masters is heart-wrenching powerful stuff.

In Tool of War, however, events transpire to drive Tool to finally meet his maker and kill the motherfucker. After enjoying a very brief victory over all the warring factions of the Drowned Cities--I mean, like "minutes," brief--Tool is nearly killed by a building-leveling, drone strike by his former masters (owner) Mercier Corporation. Mercier's search for Tool is led by General Caroa, who has a particularly sharp ax to grind against our favorite augment. Escaping on a smuggling ship, Tool is reunited with Mahlia, Ocho, Van, and several other former child soldiers from Drowned Cities.

Unfortunately, "escape" really isn't an option when you've got the equivalent of a super-sophisticated Halliburton on your tail. In the aftermath of Mercier's subsequent attacks, extreme violence and character death doth ensue. As in "Don't get attached to anyone" character death.

Tool of War was a hell of a ride, but I'd caution anyone from starting with this novel as an introduction to the Drowned Cities, or Bacigalupi's novels in general. When it comes to thorough, scarily prescient, dystopian, world building, Bacigalupi is one of the best. And all his other novels have packed a ferocious thematic punch.

Tool's driving motivation in this novel, however, is solidifying his freedom by ridding himself, and the world, of those who claimed him and slaughtered his kin and pack. The pacing is fast and the exploration of Tool's deeper motivations brief. With an understanding of what came before, in previous novels, the absence of nuance isn't a huge flaw. I enjoyed the action-packed plot, and watching Tool kicking ass and eating hearts never gets old. But a reader new to the setting might find the plot a little thin.

Anyway, this is me, eagerly awaiting more, more, MORE, stories in version of the future.

(Library book)
Profile Image for Stuart.
296 reviews21 followers
October 27, 2017
The much anticipated sequel to Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities delivers a metric ton of action, but not as much heart as the first two episodes in this YA cli-fi franchise. As in The Water Knife, Paolo seems to be skewing more toward the cinematic in his writing, and this one would be equally adaptable to the big screen, but only by sacrificing character at the bloody altar of plot. In the first two installments, the young heroes at the center of the action kept things grounded in human experience, however fanciful and dystopian. In this one, the kids are shoved to the periphery, and the camera stays locked on our inhuman hero, who while fascinating in an eminently badd-ass sort of way, is ultimately unknowable. It's one long firefight with futuristic weapons, a bit of uncomplicated PG-13 ultra-vi that could just as easily be a video game. And probably should be.
Profile Image for reherrma.
1,623 reviews25 followers
April 19, 2019
"Tool" ist der 3. Teil von Paolo Bacigalupis "Schiffsdiebe"-Trilogie Schiffsdiebe (Ship Breaker, #1) by Paolo Bacigalupi und Versunkene Städte (Ship Breaker, #2) by Paolo Bacigalupi
Dieser finale Roman der Trilogie (der aber auch unabhängig von seinen Vorgängern gelesen werden kann) macht aus den Büchern eine Schleife, indem er die Nebenfigur des ersten Buches zur Hauptfigur des dritten Romans macht und umgekehrt. Wobei man nach der Lektüre dieses Romans aber den Eindruck gewinnen kann, dass deren Hauptfigur Tool der eigentliche Kulminationspunkt der gesamten Trilogie ist.
Tool entkommt schwer verletzt aus einem, gegen ihn gerichteten, verheerende Angriff des Mercer-Konzern, in Washington D.C., der ihn vermeintlich getötet hat. Eine hochfliegende Predator-Drohne hat jedoch das Überlegen der schwer verletzten Kreatur jedoch an die Konzernzentrale im fernen Los Angeles gemeldet, Tool's Schöpfer, der rachsüchtige General Caroa, verfolgt ihn mit allen Mitteln. Tool kann sich an Bord eines Seglers retten, der von einigen seiner Freunde, seines Rudels, bemannt war, bringen ihn nach Seascape Boston, wo er untertauchen und genesen will. Doch der mächtige Konzern läßt nicht locker und treibt Tool in die Enge. Der hat sich jedoch geschworen, seine Schöpfer, seine "Götter", zu vernichten und sein Volk, die genmanipulierten "Konstrukte" aus ihrer Sklaverei zu befreien. Als Mercer erkennt, dass Tool noch lebt und sich in einer anderen Stadt verbirgt, überzieht der Konzern die Stadt mit Urheberrechts-Klagen und droht mit militärischen Gegenmaßnahmen, wenn die Stadt ihr Eigentum, Tool, nicht herausgibt...
Der Roman ist sowohl spannend als auch intellektuell sehr anregend, geschrieben in einer angenehmen Sprache. Der Autor hat sich bei diesem Roman an "Frankenstein" und auch an "Spartakus" angelehnt.
Wie in Mary Shelleys Buch will das Ungeheuer seinen Schöpfer vernichten, um ihn für seine Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit zu bestrafen. Dieser Konflikt verläuft in „Tool“ jedoch ganz anders. Denn Tool ist als Kreatur auf unbedingten, hundeartigen Gehorsam gegenüber seinem Herrn und Schöpfer gezüchtet worden. Durch Lob und Strafe sowie in einem gnadenlosen Überlebenskampf hat er schon früh gelernt, dass er nur von seinem Herrn Lob zu erwarten hat.
Als er (der General) beginnt sich falsch zu verhalten, stellt er sich außerhalb der Regeln, was fatale Folgen nach sich zieht.
Wie in "Spartakus" will Tool die Sklaven von ihren Bindungen befreien und seine (menschlichen) Freunde, sein Rudel, müssen sich über ihre eigenen Haltungen gegenüber den eigenen Sklaven (Konstrukten) klarwerden: sie haben ihnen bislang vorbehalt- und gedankenlos vertraut; was wird jetzt aus der Gesellschaft?
Diese Widersprüche transportiert der Roman hauptsächlich über seine Titelfigur, Tool, das Konstrukt, dessen Bestimmung es ist, dem Menschen zu Willen zu sein und als Kanonenfutter herzuhalten. In dieser Hinsicht gleicht Tool den Replikanten aus Blade Runner, doch im Gegensatz zu diesen ist nicht einmal sein Erscheinungsbild menschlich, obwohl er menschlicher agiert als seine Schöpfer.
Ich denke, dieses Szenario, das der Autor in dieser Trilogie entworfen hat. (zu der m.E. aber auch "Biokrieg" und "Water" gehört) liese sich noch weiter ausbauen, so stark finde ich dieses Worldbuilding...
Fazit: Dies ist wieder, wie seine Vorgänger, eine gut geschriebene, dichte und bewegende Geschichte mit einer höchst bemerkenswerten Hauptfigur...
Profile Image for Bookphile.
1,707 reviews95 followers
August 14, 2017
I'm going to need a day or two to digest this one. I've long been a fan of this series, and of Tool, and while this felt like it closed Tool's loop in a satisfying way, I'm vaguely dissatisfied with it at the same time. I think it's because it poses some HUGE moral and ethical questions that it doesn't deal with as deeply as I would have liked.

BIG disclaimer, though. This book is *ultra* violent, and I do mean ultra. Since I've also read adult books by this author, that didn't surprise me, but this book was far gorier than I'm used to YA books being. Anyone who's sensitive to graphic violence will probably not like this book.

Full review:

Tool of War, much like Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities before it, is a book that pulls no punches--and that's a good thing. The world the characters inhabit is violent and merciless, and the characters react to that world accordingly. That's not to say that dystopia need be graphic or ultra-violent, but the problem with many YA dystopian novels is they tend to tiptoe around things, using the dystopia as window dressing, as if afraid to tackle larger, darker, unseemly issues. This series shows no such fear, which means it is not for the faint of heart--and that's especially true for this book. Some spoilers to follow, so continue reading at your own risk.

I've been a fan of this series for years, the downside to that being that when I first started reading this book, it took me quite a while to remember what had happened in the previous books, and even then I'm sure I've forgotten many of the details. I did remember enough to know that this book reunites the characters from the previous novels, many of whom ended up scattered around this post-apocalyptic version of the U.S., and while this sounds like a happy occurrence, it isn't, not necessarily. This is because many of the characters won't make it to the end of the novel, and though I didn't think the author dispatched with any of them unnecessarily, it does make it hard to take that, after having survived a lot, the young characters end up meeting an untimely end. To the novel's credit, though, this proves that the stakes of Bacigalupi's world actually *are* high, rather than being proclaimed high without any proof, as often happens with YA dystopians.

Tool has long been one of my favorite characters, and it was interesting to finally get a book mainly from his perspective, disturbing as the perspective could sometimes be. This, though, is another asset of the book, as far too many YA books waste time trying to make characters "likable"--whatever that means. Even if you can't buy the idea of a genetic augment like Tool, he's really more of a symbol of man's potential for brutality, a potential that's hard to argue against if you take a good look at history and current events. Yet at Tool's central core, he's fighting hard against becoming what he was meant to be: the ultimate tool of destruction. It's possible to draw a lot of parallels between his struggles and those of slaves and/or people conscripted to fight in wars they didn't start and of which they want no part. His very existence brings up important questions about slavery, brain-washing, the cost of war, the effects wars have on combatants, and a long list of other deep issues of great significance.

This book's biggest problem? It brings massive issues like this up and then doesn't do a whole lot with them. A really good case in point, for me, was how Nita and Nailer deal with Tool. Nita and Nailer definitely have a point, one that Tool isn't always able to acknowledge, but Tool makes equally important points that Nita and Nailer don't deal with in any more than a fairly superficial way. Nita in particular will acknowledge her discomfort and spend some time thinking about what Tool has said, but it never seems to change her behavior, and while I understand her single-mindedness, she's missing a chance to experience a profound perspective shift that could serve her well in the future. Yes, these characters are all primarily concerned with survival, and yes many of them think often about the cost of that fight for survival, but it's disappointing how few of them try to find another way of doing things. I really wanted Nita to fully acknowledge what Tool was saying, to feel the full guilt of her complicity in the creation of Tool and others like him, but I ended up feeling like she brushed those misgivings aside because she didn't feel like dealing with them at the time. I feel like the book could have had even more impact if she had dealt with them, because one of the most difficult ways of changing oneself is when that change occurs at a time that's particularly inconvenient or dangerous. Tool reevaluates and changes his behavior quite frequently (and often to his own detriment and further peril), but the others, not so much.

I also have to say that I didn't care for the ending all that much. I don't want to get into details and give too much away, but I found it rather unsatisfying. There's a bleakness to it that I understand, but that bleakness smacks a bit of cynicism and I guess I like to think humans can be better than that. Plus, so much happens in this book that it feels like it crashes along until it reaches a ending that's just a bit too neat, and that disappointed me.

Still, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this series to mature teenagers and adults. It's excellent food for thought about humanity's impact on the planet, and the lengths to which people are willing to go when it comes to protecting their own. Given the current situation in the U.S., a book that delves a lot into the "us versus them" mentality, and how it drives justification for all sorts of acts that should never, ever be justified, is particularly relevant.
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,516 reviews65 followers
October 15, 2017
I definitely feel like I would've been able to enjoy this more if I had read the first two books in the series. Without that initial building block I had no idea who most of the characters were and I had to build my relationship with them from scratch.

Without that basis to work on, for me it just felt like there was too much emphasis on people's thoughts and feelings and not enough on plot progression. There was a great deal of time spent on Tool's monologues and for me it didn't create enough conflicts. It's sad really because I feel like this probably would've been an epic read if it was actually the third in the series for me as it should have been (and not my first foray.)

But I will say this. When the action came it came as a huge force and the fight scenes were totally awesome and ruthless. I just wish there had been more of it.
Profile Image for Lekeisha The Booknerd.
928 reviews107 followers
November 7, 2017
Okay, I give. At least until I can read the first two books. It's hard to jump in when you don't understand the world, and what makes the characters tick. What brought him to this point? I haven't a freaking clue.
Profile Image for Flying Monkey.
322 reviews76 followers
March 12, 2022
3.5 Stars!

Tool of War provides a lot of insight on the augments, including my favorite character, Tool.

I took a break from this series for a couple years due to an oversight on my part. I'm glad some fellow Goodread friends reviewed it, bringing this series back on my radar.
Profile Image for Skylar Phelps.
236 reviews30 followers
August 16, 2018
The writing is very good, but by the end of book three I’m just glad that it’s over. I couldn’t get into the story that much.

3 Stars
Profile Image for Kwoomac.
811 reviews32 followers
November 4, 2017
This third(and I assume) final book in the Ship Wrecker series reunites some characters from books I and II. While it was satisfying to be reunited with some old friends, the pace of this book was slower than I and II.

I also was less satisfied with Bacilgalupi’s world building. I had a hard time picturing the places. What I really enjoyed were the characters. In all three books, I felt a strong connection to the players, both good and bad. When characters from the previous books were mentioned in this book, I once again felt a loss. I was really invested in Jones’ trajectory and in general happy with how the story plays out. Bacigalupi wrapped things up nicely, but did leave room for more of this series.
Profile Image for Reading is my Escape.
830 reviews45 followers
July 25, 2020
The drone circled high above the wreckage of war.
- first sentence

The third book set in the Drowned Cities universe brings us full circle by including characters from both previous books. It was great to see everything connected and to see Nailer back. I enjoyed the book, but Ship Breaker will always be my favorite from this universe. Tool is like the Terminator - he never gives up and almost can't be killed.
Profile Image for Dennis (nee) Hearon.
354 reviews6 followers
January 25, 2019
4.49 stars. A very satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy. Grabs you from the first page and maintains your interest for the rest of the book. Consistent world building of a dystopian future where the neglected and castoff members of the remnants of modern civilization struggle to survive. Tool, an augment, a discarded genetically designed super soldier, discovers his innate humanity and goes to war against its creators. This book and its predecessor, The Drowned Cities, also evokes the lives of the children soldiers of current war torn African countries in its depiction of the other characters who fill out the body of the story. Bacigalupi captures the spirit of the underdog who triumphs against overwhelming odds. Although denominated as YA, this is the most "adult" YA book I have read in quite a while. All in all, the whole trilogy was a most rewarding experience (especially after a few, shall we say, less than fulfilling reads). The only reason I could not give it a 5 star rating was that I didn't feel that it contained such innovative and unique features to truly merit the highest accolade.
Profile Image for Андрій Гулкевич.
Author 3 books40 followers
September 18, 2019
Третій роман з циклу повністю присвячений персонажу Тулу. З кожною книгою цього циклу, Тул ставав чимраз важливішим персонажем. Події «Знаряддя війни» розгортаються через певний проміжок часу після попередньої. Тул майже захопив владу в Затонулих містах, де керує військом Об’єднаного фронту. Йому залишається якась мить, щоб розбити ворогів – Армію Бога, однак на його штаб звалюється одразу шість ракет. Тул дивом виживає і тікає. За ним женеться його творець – генерал Кароа з компанії «Месь’є». На шляху втечі Тул зустрічає Малю, а потім Цвяшка з Нітою. Крім того викликає інтерес персонаж Джонс – аналітик з компанії «Месь’є». Вона молода й амбітна, однак до кінця не усвідомлює гру, в яку потрапила. Її бентежить загадка Тула, яку їй з часом розкриє генерал Кракоа.
Вважаю, що цей роман присвячений Тулу. Тут майже повністю розкривається його природа, а також детальніше описується суть напівлюдей. Не даремно назва «Знаряддя війни», оскільки ним і є Тул. Кінець книги явно натякає на продовження, яке залишається чекати.
513 reviews
November 3, 2019
Остання книга апокаліптличного циклу "Руйнівники суден" трохи покращив враження про всю серію. Звіролюдина Тул, завоювавши зі своїм військом певну територію, зазнав нищівного ракетного удару з боку корпорації, яка його створила. Його спільники, Маля та інші, не залишили важкопораненого напризволяще та вжили всі заходи для його лікування. Тул одужав та замислив знищити людей, які створили його - ідеальну машину для убивств. Десь посередині розповіді з'явилися персонажі з першого роману циклу - Цвяхар та його подружка, які допомагають Тулу.
Profile Image for O.S. Prime.
68 reviews6 followers
April 16, 2018
Ends (I hope) the Ship Breaker series and that's about the best I can say for it. Trivial story in what once was a fascinating (if depressing) possible future. Still, it wasn't a bad read, but nowhere near Bacigalupi's best efforts.
Profile Image for Mothman.
200 reviews
Want to read
September 16, 2017
1,217 reviews6 followers
December 17, 2017
Fantastic finish to the series. Mercier has its sight set on annihilating Tool by any means necessary. Who is pack, kin, friend or foe? From the Drowned Cities to Seaport and then some, Tool fights for survival. This story pulls in Tool’s memories and dreams as well as pieces from his past that tie things up.
Profile Image for Nicholas Karpuk.
Author 4 books61 followers
April 27, 2018
It's kind of weird to read a honest to goodness sequel to Bacigalupi book. While Shipbreaker and Drowned Cities shared a character, they didn't really interconnect in terms of events or other characters, and it took a while to work out which book actually came first.

Tool of War actually ends up being a sequel to both books in a way that felt reasonably satisfying in terms of returning to previous characters. It was genuinely pleasing to see how these characters had changed.

Otherwise, this book maintains most of the hallmark qualities of Bacigalupi's biopunk work. Tight pacing, a real sense of stakes and purpose, and a lean storytelling style that I never really get tired of.

There's only one real issue I had here, and it's kind of a spoilery one, so let's put up the HTML tag!

Otherwise, a solid book, and if this closes out the series I'd be satisfied with that.
Profile Image for Jim O'Donnell.
60 reviews8 followers
August 20, 2018
All in all, this whole series and this final book are quite good. I would definitely recommend that people read them. The world building is fantastic and quite convincing. The characters are engaging and mostly well written. The ideas explored in the books are profound and immediately relatable to our times. Of all the dystopian climate fiction books this one somehow feels the most realistic. However, This third book was a bit disappointing. The pacing was off and the reintroduction of some of the old characters rang hollow. At times it dragged and it times it didn’t make sense. Still, it is worth reading. For some reason, all of Paolo’s books stumble in the end. This one included. I’m not sure why, but he consistently fails to create a tense and satisfying ending to his books. This was particularly true here as it was in “the water knife“ and “the drowned cities“. Don’t get me wrong, these are still good books but they do stumble at the end.
Profile Image for Xan Rooyen.
Author 32 books106 followers
June 8, 2018
YES!!! This was almost all the things I wanted it to be, however, it was extremely predictable and that's why this gets 4 and not 5 stars. I was hoping for some twist in the last quarter but

This whole series is violent in the extreme and not for the squeamish, but I loved this trilogy like I have loved nothing else by this author. Would definitely recommend this to YA readers who enjoy dark and blood-drenched environmentally-themed sci-fi.
631 reviews27 followers
July 11, 2020
{3.5 rounded up}
This is the final book of the series, bringing to culmination the various threads from the previous books in a satisfying way. On the one hand I can qualm about the final ending which though attempting to be presented as a difficult one, took some easy concessions to reach it with a rather clean and straightforward way. It started out with a slow and calculated pace, acting as a catalyst to a big reveal about the main protagonist's background. However it magically managed a giant leap in the middle to enable a fast conclusion.
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