In a dystopian future wracked with environmental disaster, a young salvager named Nailer's world is turned upside down when he stumbles upon the find of a lifetime, a magnificent clipper ship, and and its beautiful owner, a rich girl named Nita...
Paolo Baciglupi crafted quite a tale in Ship Breaker. You've got familial conflict, ecological disaster, young love, dystopia, what's not to like?
Not a lot, frankly. The world Bacigalupi has created is quite something. The cultures are very believable, especially in today's uncertain economic and ecological times. Nailer, Nita, and the others are three dimensional characters and Ship Breaker easily rises above just being another young adult novel.
Did I mention I loved the cultures depicted within? The scavengers had a rough yet believable life and Nita's transformation from swank to pseudo-scavenger was very well-done.
One thing that was foremost in my mind was Paolo Bacigalupi's skills as a writer. When Nailer was in danger of drowning in oil, I found myself getting more and more frantic, even though, rationally, I knew that since 300 pages were left, he'd probably survive.
While a lot of people mention the budding romance between Nailer and Nita, by far my favorite part was the filial showdown between Nailer and his father. Yeah, I'm way past the point in my life where I feel like kicking my dad's ass but I remember those days.
Actually, the plot is my least favorite part of the book. The world-building easily super-cedes it. The characters and the world take center stage. Yeah, it wouldn't have been as good if it had ended differently but what are you going to do.
Four easy stars. Don't let the YA label sway you.