Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ten Reasons to Read SHIP BREAKER.
1. The packaging is fantastic. I know this is shallow of me, but the rusty, oily cover effects on the hardcover? Completely won me over. And after reading the book? Loved it even more. The only way it could’ve matched the mood of the book any better was if there had been some gross water damage on the pages. Also, I thought I understood the title when I began, and then I thought it stopped being relevant, and then suddenly it was much more relevant than it was to start.
2. It has effortless world-building. How effortless? In 326 pages, I felt like I knew exactly how this incredibly different future America worked and what it looked like, and it felt horrifyingly plausible. That sort of world building should’ve taken twice as long. Somehow this book has done the literary equivalent of getting your husband to bring the groceries in from the car for you, and I’m not entirely sure how. But I like it.
3. Boys who act like boys who aren’t dicks.
4. Girls everywhere. Doing everything. Being a girl gets you no favors in this world, but that’s just the way it is. Equal opportunity crap.
5. A plot tighter than Richard Simmon’s abs. When our dear Paolo places a smoking gun in chapter one, you can be darn sure that he’s going to use that gun in a surprising and satisfying place later. And I’m not just talking one smoking gun. I’m talking five or six smoking plot points that “I went, huh, that is Interesting, I wonder if he’ll . . . “ at, and guess what. He did.
6. Invisible prose. With the exception of “blossoms of pain” which seemed everywhere in the last few chapters, the prose is fantastic in the way that Hunger Games’ is. It gets in and gets out and nobody even knew it was there. Just what this sort of story neded.
7. This world is subtle and scary. It looks plausible -- and the attitudes are recognizable even from this side of the printed page. I’m going to go recycle everything in my house right now.
8. Hope. I love reading dystopic fiction, but I hate hopelessness. This is a subtle, scary world where people are trying and there’s hope for the characters. My mom might read it. She’d give me squinty eyes afterward, but she might read it.
9. Tool. Just read it and find out.
10. Just a neat and satisfying package, all in one. Incredibly well written. Do yourself a favor and read it . . . slowly. This isn’t a book to be eaten in a night, though it could be done.
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