Sunday, 30 October 2011

review: Ship Breaker

by Paolo Bacigulapi
Little, Brown BFYR, 2010
futuristic young adult
received from publisher (thank you!)

Nailer's been toughing it through the heard life on light crew on the shore of a poverty-stricken country. When a luxuriously wealthy clipper ship grounds itself after a violent storm, Nailer sees it as a Lucky Strike -- all that silverware, all those riches! -- until he finds a lone girl left alive on board. Nita carries with her the dangers of a wealthier world that just may lead Nailer to a better life... or to a demise among the richest and cruelest.
The cover:

Gotta say, this cover was appealing until I noticed the face. That ship pops off the cover underneath the texturized font, but then the face disrupts the scene's flow. Imposing two different images on each other really needs to be done carefully, and here the end result isn't accomplished too well.

The book:

We get off to a slow start in terms of character. Though Nailer's job and his broken world are vivd and sensory-rich, it's hard to sympathize with him because of the hard side he needs to show to make ti through the troubles Paolo Bacigulapi puts him through. However, we've adjusted to Nailer's scaly exterior by the time the real action starts, and his character arc really hits a high note at the end, where he and his father clash in a duel that can only end one way.

And man, does the action go: from near-fatal parental issues and potential betrayal at every turn to rough experiences in the city and an epic battle on the seas. Ship Breaker literally traverses a country, and it's an exhilarating ride across the world so vividly imagined and portrayed for us by Bacigulapi.

Nailer's accompanied by Pima, fellow crewmate (and all-around kick-butt awesome girl), Nita, the love interest who's everything and more that a love interest should be, and Tool, whose mysterious background really stole the show for me. Thank goodness he's getting his own companion novel, The Drowned Cities. (And OMG I love its cover.)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5