Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Publication: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Summary taken from goodreads:
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.
4 STARS - I REALLY LIKED IT
I've heard nothing but good things about SHIP BREAKER, the book that came before THE DROWNED CITIES, and after reading this book, I can't believe that I still haven't read SHIP BREAKER yet. I can't seem to get enough of the author's writing and world that he created.
The bleak setting, the child soldiers, the neverending wars, the choices that will forever haunt you, the meaning of survival...Bacigalupi depicts all of this in such beautiful prose in the most unexpected places as you're sucked into the suspenseful story during the first half of the book.
I kept on telling myself that I would put the book down to do my homework after I finished reading one or two chapters, but the cliffhangers at the end of every chapter just made it impossible. Even after the cliffhangers disappeared during the second half, I still couldn't stop reading because of the anticipation of the climax. The tension and suspense and adrenalin made the next one hundred pages seem like a blur.
But it was the characters that really hooked me. Mahlia and Mouse each had their own problems that they had to go through that always had me hanging on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how the end result would look like if they just gave in and went out the easy way. However, it was Tool that had my utmost respect and attention.
Tool is a half-man. He has the DNA of dog, tiger, hyena, and many others. He was born and trained to be a killing machine, the perfect predator. And he's pretty amazing. Ruthless and intelligent, the guy's thought process was so intriguing, and everything he said was full of win. He had a different view of the world, one with no attachments--just a cold, analytical observation of his surroundings and how it would help his survival and goals. And what he decided to do at the end! If Bacigalupi decides to write another book set in this world, I hope it will be about Tool and his plans.
I really enjoyed this book. I was a little confused about the world outside of the setting, but I think that it would have made more sense if I had read SHIP BREAKER first, which I'm going to do as soon as I can get my hands on a copy!
I also want to mention how much I love the paperback cover. I mean, I liked the hardback cover, but something about the colors and font really appeals to me.