Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Paragraph Review of Ship Breaker

I picked this book up at the SCBWI Western Washington conference this past weekend...and then I didn't put it down again until I finished it. :)

Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker takes place in a future where the oil has run out and the wealth distribution is even more uneven than it is now.  On a beach off the Gulf of Mexico, we follow the protagonist, Nailer, as he risks his life scavenging old wrecked oil tankers for enough copper wire to maybe buy his next meal - that is if his addict father doesn't take most of it first.  When Nailer finds the scavenge of all scavenges, a huge wealthy clipper ship left behind by a recent hurricane, he must decide whether to save the clipper's lone survivor and possibly escape his life of poverty, or to remain loyal to his crew and family and strip the ship for all it's worth.  Bacigalupi's frank language and amazing sense of setting combine to keep the pace up while making you feel you're right alongside Nailer in his adventures.  The characters of this book leapt off the page for me, so much so that when I finished, I felt I'd lost friends.  Perhaps it's because I'm so used to trilogies these days, but I haven't felt like that at the end of a book in ages.  And it's not just Nailer, either; the supporting characters are even more well-rounded and lifelike.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes good adventure, an exciting plot, and strong characters.

Front to back time: Two days

Favourite character: This was tough.  I think the most interesting character in the book was Nailer's father, but I wouldn't want to meet him!  As for one I'd like to meet, I thought Sadna was wonderful.

Most exciting scene: I had to add this new category just for the amazing nautical battle scene.  I won't give anything away; I'll just say one word gripping.

Musical Accompaniment: Metronomy, Massive Attack

Overall Rating: 8/10  ...I'm beginning to think my rating system is flawed.  I'm always rating them 8!  But maybe that's because I only read good books! ;)

Have any of you guys read this book?  Let me know your thoughts!


  1. I've seriously missed your blog! Love the musical accompaniment feature! I'm definitely going to pick this up.

  2. Aw! It's good to be missed. :) But it's better to be back!

    Also, I feel I should clarify, the musical accompaniment is more what I was listening to at the time of reading and not so much what I recommend as musical accompaniment. I mean, obviously my opinion is that it fits well enough - otherwise I would have changed CDs while reading, but it might not be the BEST fit for the novel. Some sort of Caribbean Roots music would probably fit better with Ship Breaker. Or maybe something crazy like Buraka Som Sistema.

  3. I read this one awhile back. I mostly enjoyed it, but I felt that it was kind of rushed at the end and maybe felt a bit too unfinished. I hope there is a sequel.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  4. Hi Angela,

    Thanks for the comment! I love your blog btw! :)

    As for the end of SB, I actually loved it! And I'm feeling smothered by trilogies and series these days, so I actually felt it was kind of refreshing how open-ended it was left...without the promise of a sequel.

    I think if I really had to be critical, the worst thing about Ship Breaker is that there's an awful lot of "blossoming" pain. For some reason that word kept taking me out of the story! But, minor issue. :)


  5. This sounds like a great read. Adding it to my list. Thanks!

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse


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