Review: Ship Breaker

Title: Ship Breaker
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Rating: 8
Date of Release: May 1st, 2010

Summary: 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 a 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 long survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life... 

Let's start right off with first impressions. The cover goes very, very well with the story, it is what drew me in to reading the book in the first place. It isn't super common that a cover goes along well with the story, but this one does. Second, I hate that summary. Look at the first sentence. Thirty-nine words and five commas. Too much, just break it into different sentences for crying out loud! I'm a stickler for simplistic sentences, so that irked me.

About the story itself. For once, I preferred the characters to the plot, which usually isn't my view. The plot had promise, but at times it felt a little...flat. The final sea battle was confusing and I felt a little unfulfilled at the end. Plus, all of Nailer's choices seem 'right'. One of the rules of plot devices is that the first problem should just happen to the character, and the rest are caused by his or her choices. Look at Harry Potter, the Goblet of Fire. The whole Dark Mark thing in the beginning wasn't Harry's fault, but at the end, Sirius dies because of Harry's impulsive choices. Nailer made no such choices, and so the plot was a little iffy for me. It wasn't horrible, but I had an all-over 'meh' feeling about it.

The setting was great. Beached clippers, rusting all over the Gulf, destroyed cities, a "Life Cult". The lore of the story was great, I don't have much negative to say about it.

Now, the characters. As I mentioned above, the characters plus the setting are what gave this book its highish rating. Nailer was definitely not perfect, just a boy living in a imperfect world. His sense of morality has been dulled but not destroyed, as he finds when he looks into Nita's (the wealthy girl that was beached) eyes. The lingo used throughout is pitch perfect, rich people are 'swanks', there's 'light crew' and 'heavy crew'. And also, I'm so happy that this story had a male protagonist. Nearly all YA seems to have a female protag these days, or at least the popular books.Although this was written two years ago, I'm hoping to see more male protagonists in the future, just for diversity.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe. If I have time.

Final Rating: 8

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