In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life…
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
I think I was expecting a little more from Ship Breaker than what was delivered. I’ve heard wonderful things about Paola Bacigulpi’s books and there’s no doubt he is a good writer but Ship Breaker lacked… something. Umpfh, pizazz, soul, I’m not sure what. I listened to the audiobook with genuine interest but the story didn’t pull me in the way many other books have. It left almost no impression on me and I kind of almost forgot that I even read it.
One of the best things about Ship Breaker is the world Bacigulpi created. Set in the hot and mostly under water Gulf Coast, the Ship Breaker world is gritty with a huge disparity between the very poor and the extremely wealthy. Bacigulpi paints a clear picture of this dystopian landscape and with global warming predictions, it’s easy to see this world as a future Earth. I didn’t fall in love with this setting, I just felt it was done well.
The characters are alright. I didn’t care about any of them very much. Nailer is a good character and that’s about all I have to say about him. I think Bacigalupi created a good villain with Nailer’s violent, drug and alcohol abusing father. I really hated him and this hatred was probably the one thing that made me root for the characters.
The audiobook narration may have ruined this book a tiny bit for me and I think I might have enjoyed this book if I had read it instead of listened to it. I didn’t mind the narrator’s normal voice or even his gruffy tough male character voice, but his female voices…ahhhh. There were a few female voices in the story and each one bugged me. One or two had a Caribbean accent and a male narrator trying to do a female Caribbean accent really just sounds like a man doing a Caribbean accent. I imagined the Cool Runnings Jamaican bobsled team instead the female characters. Just a little conflicting when trying to envision the story.
If you want still want to read Ship Breaker, I recommend reading Ship Breaker over listening to the audiobook. Reading it might be more enjoyable than listening to it, but I really can’t say. I’m still going to give some other Bacigalupi books a try but I’m not too interested in reading the next book in the Drowned Cities series.