I was recently out of town for a few days. I visited a bookstore and bought myself a couple of books there (it was a birthday present to myself!) When I got home I decided to give one of them, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, a read.
Ship Breaker caught my eye because of the premise. It's climate fiction/dystopian, set in New Orleans after the polar ice caps have melted. Nailer, the main character, is part of a light crew who goes into old ships and dismantles them; light crew take light things like copper wiring, while heavy crew will actually dismantle the steel etc. of the ship. One day Nailer discovers a beached clipper ship and is faced with the decision of whether to claim it as salvage, or rescue the wealthy girl who is its lone survivor. It took a long time to actually get to Nailer finding the clipper. First he had some adventures in the ship he was dismantling (he almost drowned in a pocket of oil on board the ship - that incident actually sets the stage for him even considering helping the wealthy girl rather than just claiming her ship as salvage). Then once he makes his decision, the remainder of the book is Nailer dealing with the consequences of his choice (and largely trying to get away from his father, who is easily the scariest person in the entire book). So the book kind of dragged a bit, but the climax was sufficiently entertaining (there was a fun boat chase!) that it was overall an alright read.
I also liked that even though the book centered around Nailer, a few other interesting characters were around a fair bit as well. For the first part of the book, Nailer was usually with Pima; Pima was even with him when the clipper ship was discovered. Nailer considered Pima and her mother to be more family to him than his own father, so a lot of what he did, he would be thinking about them too (and he had no intention of leaving them behind, no matter what decision he made). For that reason, I thought Ship Breaker was a good story about the family we make, rather than the family we were born with.
I thought the worldbuilding in Ship Breaker was pretty great. I liked how Bacigalupi
imagined the area around New Orleans once the sea level has risen. And
also how the people like Nailer are able to make their meager living by
salvaging ships (and how Nailer constantly appraised his surroundings
for salvage - that was a nice touch). An interesting note is that the next two books of the series follow Tool, an augmented man who is made with dog, hyena, and tiger genetics. Tool was a far more interesting character than Nailer, (particularly because he is not bound into servitude like all the other augmented people are in this world) so I am tempted to keep reading the series to find out more about him. If the rest of the series kept following Nailer, I would have been finished with it at the end of this book.
*As of September 24/15, I am not taking any more requests from authors to read their books. I currently have too many books to read. I'll update this if/when that changes.*
I currently have 164 fiction books just sitting in my room to read (although that doesn't stop me from randomly picking books up at work or buying them on Kindle!). I've been keeping track of them on a paper list for years. This blog shares what I read as I attempt to get "the List" down to a more manageable number.
If you'd like to know what books are on the List, check out my Goodreads shelf devoted to them - it's my physical list digitized! I've also got a shelf for every book I've reviewed here on this blog.
Not everything I review here is actually on the List. Some books come from the library, some books are nonfiction (which are not included on the List), some books are on my Kindle (which have never been included on the List), and some books are given to me by friends and family.
Note: as of April 12/14, I am not going to add the *spoiler* warning I used to when I'm giving away details of books. I want to talk about the books I've read in whatever detail I'd like. So if you haven't read a book I'm reviewing, you might not want to read the review.