Monday, October 22, 2012

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Last month I read Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Ship Breaker is a young adult post-apocalyptic novel about a boy named Nailer with a dangerous job: tearing old ships apart to scavenge their parts. Scavengers must belong to a tribe and meet their quota of scavenged materials - or face exile, starvation, and death. But they have to survive the scavenging too - and some will drown in pockets of oil or get trapped inside the damaged ships.

Nailer's life is changed when a rich clipper ship is blown onto shore. It's a lucky break for him, because he can get rich off the scavenge. But a girl inside turns out to be alive, and when Nailer decides not to kill her (against the pragmatic advice of his friend), he finds himself caught in a high-stakes war.

The rich girl's enemies are hunting her. Her dangerous friends are trying to rescue her. Nailer's colleagues on shore want her ship for spoil - and her life for ransom.

Nailer wanted to do the right thing...but soon he may just want to stay alive.

I rate the book 6/10. The author did a great job of setting up Nailer's desperate situation throughout the book. He's a sympathetic and admirable protagonist who tries to do the right thing when he could easily benefit by doing wrong.

There are some compelling villains in the story, including Nailer's father: a man who used to be decent but became dangerous and unpredictable due to drug abuse. He is scary.

I read the book for my Writing the Novel class. It kept my interest throughout - partly because Nailer's situation seemed very plausible.

If you like any of Cherie Priest's steampunk books, like Dreadnought, then you might like Ship Breaker.

1 comment:

  1. So I've never even heard of that book before, but now I want to read it. Sounds pretty interesting! I haven't read a book outside of school or Bible in so long it's pathetic...don't even wanna think about it.