Monday, September 5, 2011
Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker #1) by Paolo Bacigalupi
In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota—and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
First Look: ***** Wasn't quite sure what I would get when I picked this up. I went from hating the cover to loving it to hating it...but we ended at liking it. I'm really glad I picked this up, although I wouldn't want that last name*.
Setting: ***** How often do I actually get to say this about a setting: I. LOVED. IT!!!! And seriously, I did. It was truly fantastic. It took those mediocre dystopian The Giver ripoffs and ate them for breakfast. There was nothing non-unique about it. It was fresh, and new, and incredibly messed-up, as a good dystopia should be.
I might as well have been there the entire time, because I certainly felt like I was. I could feel the ancient ship closing in around me. I could hear the city killer (ginormous hurricane that would make Irene run and hide) ripping across the beach. I could smell all the...stuff that didn't smell good (this isn't Bath & Body Works, people). It was very well-described, though I wouldn't want to live there.
Characters: ***** Yay. I get to give another five-star rating. The characters were amazingly awesome. Nailer made a fantastic protagonist. I was rooting for him right from the very first page, and I didn't stop. At least, not until the last page when the book ended. Then I was sad, because I wouldn't get to read about him until the sequel comes out. He was so incredibly realistic. He had a perfect balance of good qualities and flaws, which made me like him even more.
The other characters were awesome, too! I thought Nita was also very real, and so were Pima, Sadna, and all the others. I even liked Tool. I hated Nailer's dad, of course. He got what he deserved.
Plot: ***** It started out a bit on the slow side, but it picked up really fast after that. I loved all of Nailer's conflict around what to do about Nita. It wasn't too fast, yet it was exciting. I didn't want to put the book down. I also liked where it ended; it wrapped some things up, but left you wanting the sequel anyways.
Uniqueness: ***** This was fresh and new. It didn't copy anyone or anything, and it left The Giver alone, which most dystopians have problems doing.
Writing: ***** I really enjoyed the writing. The author had a great way of telling things, and it was almost poetic, in a weird way that clashed with the book but still worked. He did a fantastic job with capturing Nailer's voice. He used quite a few fragments, but they actually worked, so I liked them. Awesome writing.
That being said, I did find a minor typo on page 285.
Likes: Um...the whole thing?
Not-so-great: I feel like a series with cool titles like Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities should have a better series title than just Ship Breaker.
Total Score: I really, really liked this. I feel like there's an echo in here, but really: it was fresh, and new, and exciting. It was different than other dystopians, and had amazing characters and a really compelling plot. And great writing. The setting was creepy, and fantastically real. I could definitely see this happening to our world. I need to get my hands on the sequel, The Drowned Cities! Highly recommended.
*And I thought Paolini was fun to say.