Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ship Breaker (YA)

Ship Breaker. Paolo Bacigalupi. 2010. May 2010. Little Brown. 326 pages.

Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.

This futuristic novel wowed me. It is set on what was once the Gulf Coast. Nailer and his friends from the light crew are scavengers. They scavenge the ruins of what once was--mainly ships and tankers--looking for valuable (and now scarce) metals and other resources.

Loyalty is everything--and the crew is bonded together by blood. To join the crew you must take a blood oath to be there for one another. If you break your oath, then you're out. And being on your own in this crowd, in this community, something you want to avoid at all costs. Desperate times and all. You have to be a certain weight and height to be on the light crew--to fit places most wouldn't--and it's hard, demanding work.

Nailer's best friend is a young woman named Pima. These two are together (after a BIG, BIG storm) when they make an extraordinary find. They find a newly wrecked clipper ship--a private ship. And this kind of luck doesn't come along twice in a lifetime. As they are searching the ship and making a plan, they discover something even more surprising. The ship's sole survivor, a young girl named Nita. She's the daughter of a somebody. She's wealthy. She's unbelievably wealthy. What's to be done now? To trust or not to trust? Can someone that rich understand the depth of poverty? The desperation that comes along with not having enough to eat? of having no real place to call home?

I loved this one. Bacigalupi has created an intense world--dark and desperate and cruel in many ways--and given readers a unique cast of characters. It's a very compelling read. (Definitely one hard to put down!)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Julie P said...

I'm not sure about this one--sounds kind of dark. I think I am going to pass. Thanks for sharing though!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to try this one! I keep reading great reviews of it. Thanks for this!