Nick's Reviews > Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
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M 50x66
's review
Feb 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult-fiction, science-fiction
Read in February, 2011

This dystopian novel, with some science fictional aspects, was the first YA novel by an author already known for some of his adult SF.
The characters were interesting and distinctive. The main characters make their living by salvaging materials from abandoned old ships, mostly old oil tankers that are useless now that oil is pretty much gone.
The society shown is a repulsive one with few redeeming aspects. Men, women and children are ground down by their work and their environment. The only way out is to get extremely lucky. Most people don't.
During this book we see only glimmers of the rest of the world, but it doesn't seem like all that nice a place either, with genetic hybrids bred in Japan to act as semi-human bodyguards for the wealthy. High-tech solar-powered sailing ships are used for cargo runs in a world with melted icecaps and Inuit pirates, factor six hurricanes and city-killer storms. It's sort of like Waterworld at times, but done right.
Nailer, the viewpoint character, would love to escape, but even dreams are beyond the reach of ship breakers...or are they? When he gets a chance to try for one, is it within his reach, or just a fever dream?
Good stuff, and I will read the sequel.
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