Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Ship Breaker 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. . . .

I picked this one up based on the Book Smuggler's review, however I was a bit apprehensive because they also loved Incarceron which I just could NOT connect with. But I was pleasantly surprised with Ship Breaker.

Nailer, our protagonist, savages abandoned oil takers for copper wiring to make quota for the tyrannical men in charge in the futuristic story where most of the Gulf Coast is now submerged. Nailer, like most people on the beach, have a rough life. However, Nailer also has to deal with a drunken, drug addicted father that routinely beats him and is downright evil.

One day, Nailer's luck turns and he and his best friend, Pima, discover an expensive ship that has wrecked unbeknown to anyone else. While scavenging the boat they uncover a wealthy girl, Nita, nearly drowned in the wreckage.

They're faced with the choice of killing the girl and claiming the ship or saving the girl in hopes that her rich family will reward them beyond their wildest imagination for saving her. In the end they save her but Nita has secrets of her own and the rest of the book finds Nailer and Nita on the run from those pursuing Nita, and Nailer running from his father.

This book was pretty action packed, it moved quickly. However, what I liked most about it was the insight it had into what makes a "family". For Nailer, his mother is gone and his father is downright evil. The closest thing he has to family is Pima, his best friend and her mother. I liked how Nailer learns that blood relations don't necessarily guarantee love or a sense of family. Sometimes you make your family from those that are there for you, blood or not.

The end wraps up the events of the novel nicely, however I was left wanting more. Wanting to know what Nailer's next move would be. I'm wondering if there's going to be a sequel or not.

Overall this is a great addition to the slew of dystopian novels out there. I would definitely recommend this one!



  1. Great review!!! =) I love dystopian worlds, so I just need to add that one to my TBR hehe

    I found your log through twitter, thanks for following me there =)))

    I love the look of your blog, Im a new follower!

  2. Oh, I have been rather curious about this one, but put off by the fact it is hardcover and I've never read any of his books before. You're making it sound good - thanks for the review :-)

  3. Oh i like action-packed storyline. It drives my interest and this one will easily hooked me up.Nice review!

  4. Oooh I've heard about this, sounds like a great book.

  5. Sounds interesting and quite different :) Maybe one day...

  6. Books with themes of family always make for interesting reading. Thanks for sharing. I'll keep my eye out for it.

  7. Larissa, I'm following you too! That's why I love Twitter, have found a TON of new blogs!

    Li, I really enjoyed it!

    Darlyn, Yes it's quite fast paced. The ending like I said kinda left it open for a possible sequel. I'd like to hear more about Nailer's adventures!

    Nath, One day huh? Well if you're gonna go for dystopian, I'd probably recommend The Hunger Games first. It's crazy good!

    Kah Woei, I liked the family aspect to the storyline, gave it a little more depth to an otherwise action packed book.


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