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Ship Breaker Paperback – Oct 3 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (Oct. 3 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316056197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316056199
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


* "Stellar."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich."―Booklist, starred review

* "This thriller will grab and keep readers' attentions as Nailer and Nita 'crew up' in their fight to survive."―The Horn Book, starred review

About the Author

Paolo Bacigalupi is the author of the highly acclaimed The Drowned Cities, as well as his debut young adult novel, Ship Breaker, which was a Michael L. Printz Award winner, a National Book Award Finalist, and a Locus Award winner. His debut adult novel, The Windup Girl, was named by Time Magazine as one of the ten best novels of 2009 and won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. His short-story collection, Pump Six and Other Stories, was a 2008 Locus Award winner for Best Collection and was also named one of the Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly. He lives with his wife and son in western Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has all the elements of thrills, suspense and intrigue necessary to captivate young and old. The setting is in an environmentally post-apocalyptic earth (specifically, the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans) in which the sea level is hundreds of feet higher than in today's world. It is populated by humans and genetic half-men, engineered from human ova and the cells of vicious dogs and tigers. Nailer, the teenage hero, lives in a brutal society of scavengers who dismantle old pre-apocalyptic ships for all metals and valuables which have become scarce. His main adversary is his father who is high on amphetamines and liquor most of the time. Nailer and his female cohort Pima discover a modern ship which has foundered by being snagged on submerged skyscrapers. On board they find a beautiful injured girl, Nita, who is trapped under debris. It turns out that she is the rich daughter of the ship's owner, the head of a large financial conglomerate. When Nailer's ruthless father finds out her heritage he seizes the opportunity to hold her in exchange of a ransom. The story, including a dramatic escape, goes on from there.

Although this book is directed at youth, it contains a lot of savage battle-to-death descriptive violence which may not be suitable for tweens. Its themes and actions resemble the script for a typical animation videogame.
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Format: Hardcover
Presumably set in the same dystopian future as his critically - and popularly - acclaimed "The Windup Girl", Bacigalupi's "Ship Breaker" remains one of the best Young Adult dystopian science fiction novels of recent vintage and one with well-drawn characters and a superbly vivid prose style that will endear itself to audiences of all ages. On the Gulf Coast of Texas, in what was once the United States, a young teenage boy, Nailer, who works on a "light crew" combing wrecked, rusted oil tankers for precious copper wiring, stumbles upon a wrecked clipper ship whose only survivor, Nita, is a young wealthy heiress of one of North America's most prominent mercantile trading families. Opting to seek a future far more promising than his dreary present, Nailer embarks on trek with Nita towards the distant half-drowned city of New Orleans, escorted by a genetically modified hybrid human bred for war, Tool, hoping to find another clipper ship and a loyal crew working on behalf of her family. Theirs is a journey fraught with peril as they contend with murderous thieves and fanatical mercenaries, and the crew of an armored clipper ship loyal to her family's bitter rivals on a mission to find her at all costs. "Ship Breaker" is replete with much of the same visually arresting, descriptive prose found in "The Windup Girl", demonstrating once again, Bacigalupi's considerable talents as one of the premier literary stylists writing contemporary science fiction in the English language. This is a notable recent work of dystopian science fiction that should interest a readership extending well beyond science fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Wow what a world Paolo Bacigalupi has created here with Ship Breaker. I won't say this is the best dystopian book I've read but it's definitely up there as the freakiest in terms of a realistic or even inevitable futures -should global warming cripple the earth, the ice caps melt and all of our natural resources disappear.

Initially I was drawn to this book because it reminded me of a documentary I'd seen about families in India who lived and worked on the beach, eking out a living by breaking down oil tankers for parts (which is the exact scenario here) The extreme poverty, danger, expendability and daily fight for survival stuck with me and I suppose that's why for several chapters here I assumed this took place in a third world country, it does but that country is now on the US Gulf coast. For me this is where Ship Breaker shines; the world building here is simply awesome.

Anyways this was a great read, well written, unique and action filled. There are morality choices (love books that make me think, what would I do?) some romance (a hint of) pirates, hurricanes, knife fights, train chases, treasure hunting and a drug addicted antagonist who also just happens to be the hero's father. Yeah he was a very bad man. Come to think of it there is quite a bit of violence in this story.

I also enjoyed the distinctions presented here in class discrepancy and fell in love with a character named Tool (a DNA altered or manufactured half man/dog/tiger who could really do with his own book. I struggled a bit with the weird names (reminding me of Hunger Games in their anonymity) Pima, Bapi, Sloth, Tick-Tock.
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Format: Paperback
A+ for Ship Breaker
Great worldbuilding that makes you think about current affairs? Check. A setting that postulates a possible (bleak) future of mankind? Check. A great main character who is easy to root for? Check. Expressive writing with a complex, fast-paced plot? Check. Honestly, this book has it all. I might even have liked it more than I liked his adult novel 'The Windup Girl.' This is everything that a good SF YA novel should be.

Better than: The Hunger Games, Graceling, Incarceron.
Please read the first chapter and know that it only gets better from there. Highly recommended.
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