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The Drowned Cities [Library Binding]

Paolo Bacigalupi
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: £13.61
Price: £11.92 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 May 2013

In this exhilarating companion to Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi brilliantly captures a dark future America that has devolved into unending civil wars, driven by demagogues who recruit children to become soulless killing machines.

Two refugees of these wars, Mahlia and Mouse, are known as 'war maggots': survivors who have barely managed to escape the unspeakable violence plaguing the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities. But their fragile safety is threatened when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool, who is hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers.

When tragedy strikes, Mahlia is faced with an impossible decision: risk everything to save the boy who once saved her, or flee to her own safety.

Drawing upon the brutal truths of current events, The Drowned Cities is a powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Library Binding: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books; Reprint edition (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 060631749X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606317498
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 13.3 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,527,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Beautifully written, filled with high-octane action, and featuring badly damaged but fascinating and endearing characters, this fine novel tops its predecessor and can only increase the author's already strong reputation. (Publishers Weekly)

Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the map with The Hunger Games...but Bacigalupi is one of the genre's masters. (The Los Angeles Times)

Bacigalupi writes with a furious energy that makes this brilliant depiction of an all-too-believable future impossible to forget. (Booklist)

Breathtaking. (Kirkus) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book Geek 5 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sometimes a book is just all that much better for being so disgustingly horrible. For not glossing over the gruesome details, for keeping the reader hooked in wide-eyed horror. This is that kind of book. The author doesn't waste his time on niceties, this story's about the harsh realities of survival and the unfortunate lengths that people have to go to in order to just stay alive. This book is nasty and gritty, and yet none of the violence and gore felt gratuitous, and above all else Paolo Bacigalupi is actually an incredible writer.

For those of you - like me - who felt that Ship Breaker was a little bit too much of a "boy book", despite being impressed by the writing and the imagery, I want to let you know that you should have no such concerns about The Drowned Cities. Not only is this a much better book than its predecessor, it has a broader reach. This, in my opinion, is about so much more than high-action scenes to please teen male readers, there are strong messages about war and loyalty and survival.

The story mainly focuses on three individuals, Mahlia, her companion Mouse, and a genetically engineered soldier which combines parts of various animals and human DNA to make the ultimate killing machine (called Tool). War plays a big part in this book, it is what threatens the safety of the characters, what forces them on, what challenges them to make a number of big decisions. Mahlia, with only a stump at the end of her right arm, is already a victim of this war. A war that is a lot more familiar to humanity than most of us would like to think.

To digress slightly, tomorrow I will be taking an exam in international relations and one of the key topics is what we call "new wars".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Average 1 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to agree with many of the things that the previous reviewer has written. I have read three previous books by Paolo Bacigalupi, Pump Six, The Wind Up Girl and Shipbreaker. Each book is excellent and I expected the same from The Drowned Cities. Unfortunatly, although it is a good read it is not on the same level as Shipbreaker, which is set in the same timeline/world. The book is just to long, and I feel that the story could have been told in half the length. I didnt really feel anything for the characters and by the end of the book I didnt care what was happening to them. I have given it 3 stars as I think the writing is pretty good, but it lacks a real story. Hopefully with his next book Paolo Bacigalupi can revert to his previous form.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Set in the same petroleum-free dystopian future history as his critically acclaimed "Shipbreaker", with characters and a setting as compelling as his great literary debut "The Windup Girl", Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Drowned Cities" ranks among our best recent dystopian Science Fiction novels. It is also among the finest novels published this year, a mesmerizing tale about war and survival, friendship and loyalty that I have found far more compelling than recently published dystopian fiction from the likes of Ernest Cline, Colson Whitehead and Karen Thompson Walker. Paolo Bacigalupi demonstrates once more why he is one of our most impressive young writers of science fiction, conjuring yet another spellbinding tale that takes readers into some of the darkest corners of human behavior, emphasizing American Civil War Union general William T. Sherman's observation that "War is Hell". With "The Drowned Cities", Baciogalupi offers ample evidence that he is becoming one of the finest prose stylists writing in contemporary science fiction, joining the ranks of such impressive stylists as China Mieville and Michael Swanwick, and deservedly worthy of appealing to a broad spectrum of readers, not only those interested in Young Adult fiction. An unlikely encounter with a bioengineered living weapon of war, Tool, plunges adolescent outcasts Mahlia and Mouse into an epic journey of survival, as they attempt fleeing the pillaged, almost desolate, war-torn landscape of the Drowned Cities, located amidst a bleak dystopian futuristic America that readers may find all too probable. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid follow up 4 Jun 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Having read Shipbreaker last year, I was more than interested to see how the world would develop in future stories as it was dark enough to begin with. What this loose sequel to the original story does is amerces the reader into this dark apocalyptic future and takes them on an adventure where the cost of life and death is measured in seconds and choices have severe consequences.

It's well written, the prose as well as pace sharp and when added to dealing with harsh facts it's a tale that needs the reader's full attention as they get deeper within the pages. Add to this Paolo's wonderfully addictive writing style as well as his ability to take you there in an almost cinematic manner and you know that its definitely a story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant vivid storytelling
Bacigalupi triumphs again
Perhaps one the best novels about the pointlessness of war and heroism beyond logic. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Sam Hawksmoor
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely well written
Really moving character driven story that says so much more about the current state of humanity than many dystopian future book. Nothing contrived and disturbingly real.
Published 4 months ago by Scooby'sMum
5.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up
I was surprised when this book didn't follow on with the same characters as the last. Set in the same world and time, this book follows a war maggot girl called Mahlia, a young boy... Read more
Published 5 months ago by N. Lang
5.0 out of 5 stars A frighteningly believable future
This is a frighteningly believable future skilfully created by Paolo Bacigalupi.

In this future, sea levels and temperatures have risen dramatically and much of the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Peter King
4.0 out of 5 stars Action Packed
Review by Madison - Year 10

Drowned Cities shows a world where war is raging. Soldiers do cruel things and wild animals like Coyotes stalk the night adding to the danger... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cowbridge School Library
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read as usual from Bacigalupi but I found the story didn't have...
I like PBs books and find his writing style engaging and well written. I've read his other books and enjoyed them immensely. Read more
Published 17 months ago by ian murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars well crafted story
This book had me on the edge of my seat right from the start, the mixture of its politics and especially the violence with its parodying of contemporary child warfare, and slavery... Read more
Published 20 months ago by sean
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow-up to Ship Breaker
This story continues the saga of Tool, the augmented half-man we first meet in Ship Breaker. However, while Ship Breaker is set in the relatively civilised North, Drowned Cities is... Read more
Published on 26 Jun 2012 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
After taking a chance on "Shipbreaker" and being absolutely blown away, I devoured Bacigalupi's debut novel "The Wind-Up Girl" with similar enthusiasm. Read more
Published on 25 May 2012 by Ms. Jv Ferguson
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