The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi: Review

Posted April 27, 2012 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 15 Comments

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi: ReviewThe Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Series: Ship Breaker #2
on May 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Social Issues, Violence
Pages: 448
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

I received this book for free from Little Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

A couple years ago, Ship Breaker piqued my interest. But, I never did get my hands on a copy. But, that didn’t stop me from diving into The Drowned Cities when it arrived. And, I’m happy to report that it is a true companion novel, and I didn’t feel confused or lost by having not read Ship Breaker.

The Drowned Cities has a very distinct flavor to it. And, it’s not going to appeal to everyone. But, if you’re suffering from a dystopian fatigue, this novel just might be the thing to give you a boost. The atmosphere is creepy, gritty, and downright dangerous. Everyone is desperate, and there are no rules. Mahlia is an orphan. Her father was a member of the Chinese army, and part of a failed attempt to stop the destruction and civil war in America. Mahlia is a cast-off, and was left behind by the feeling Chinese. Her hand has been cut off, but she still deftly assists the town’s doctor in stitching up wounds, since the physician is almost completely blind.

I loved so many things about The Drowned Cities. I loved Mahlia and her stubbornness. She is loyal to her friend Mouse, who really is more of a brother by circumstance than anything else. Tool was terrifying and yet, I found myself rooting for him. He’s really just a product of the society that made him.

The Drowned Cities will appeal to readers who enjoyed Blood Red Road by Moira Young (my review). The atmosphere is just as vibrant as Young’s series, and I really think you’ll love Mahlia like I did.


15 responses to “The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi: Review

    • You know, it wasn't clear if this book took place before or after. Of course, I haven't read Ship Breaker yet. I'm definitely going to pick it up now though!

  1. I really liked Ship Breaker a lot, and can't wait to read Drowned Cities. I'm guessing that Drowned Cities takes place after Ship Breaker, when they leave the train.

  2. "The Drowned Cities'" predecessor (and loose companion) "Ship Breaker" has already won Printz and was short-listed for National Book Award, and rightfully so.

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