- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Atom (7 July 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1907411100
- ISBN-13: 978-1907411106
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ship Breaker: Number 1 in series Paperback – 7 Jul 2011
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* "This thriller will grab and keep readers' attentions as Nailer and Nita 'crew up' in their fight to survive."-- "The Horn Book", starred review
Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
That pretty much sums up how I felt about Paolo's second effort. The Wind Up Girl (his debut) is far superior, more in depth and fulfilling. Now, I know this book is YA, but maybe Bacigalupi imposed too great a restriction on his writing and style by aiming at a younger crowd. The Wind up girl is doubtless a dark, powerful and cynical work, but there in lie some of its strengths. With Ship Breaker, it felt like the author was just leaving so much unsaid, and character interactions felt unconvincing. At the same time, I believe the book is also a poor fit for its intended audience; the themes are constantly violent, including violence towards kids and there's a load of drug/alchohol abuse. With that in mind, maybe the novel would have been better written for adults in the first place?
On the positive side, Bacigalupi's future world is well imagined and believable, with many unique ideas throughout. Certainly worth a look, though I'd rather recommend his first book.
Ship Breaker is set in the Gulf Coast region of the United States in the near future, a world ravaged by poverty when oil reserves have been depleted and the sea level has risen dramatically due to climate change, causing geographic and societal shifts. Oil tankers, freighters and other huge sea vessels are no longer of any use due to the lack of oil, their only remaining value is whatever can be salvaged from them. On the Coast, ship breakers work at salvaging whatever they can from these huge ships, tearing them apart bit by bit until nothing remains. Light crews, constituted of children and teenagers due to their ability to fit into cramped ducts, are responsible for the smaller salvages such as the copper wiring or scrap metal whereas heavy crews salvage the bigger, heavier components.
Nailer Lopez, a teenager, is a Ship Breaker, he works for a light crew struggling as best he can to make salvage quota. After a severe hurricane known as a "City Killer" hits his coastal community, he and his crew-mate Pima discover a shipwrecked Clipper inside which they find wealth beyond their wildest dreams: silverware, food, paintings, etc. The crew are all dead, but they stumble upon the unconscious body of what appears to be a very wealthy, and beautiful, teenage girl. They are faced with a dilemma, salvage anything they can from their "Lucky Strike" before anyone else notices the wreck, or go against their instinct and save the girl.Read more ›
I was surprised to find this billed as a YA book, parts of it are properly dark and quite nasty on occasion but it's an enjoyable romp and a cracking read.
The story is about a boy called Nailer who works hard gathering copper wiring from old oil tankers in order to make quota and keep his pitiful job. The setting? A bleak and miserable future 100 years from now. One day he finds something on board a wrecked clipper ship that is destined to change his life forever in ways he could never have imagined... sounds suitably ominous and intriguing.
But, ah, there was a bit too much oil and ships and copper wiring for me.
There were some great fast-paced action scenes, some real gritty nastiness and the author had a tendency to describe the gory details very accurately. I thought some parts were better written and more interesting than others but, on the whole, the story failed to grab me and, thereby, failed to hold my interest.
One of my favourite parts of this book were the constant moral battles the characters faced of self-preservation vs doing the right thing. Getting rich or saving a life? Helping your colleague out of a sticky situation or using their misfortune to further your own career prospects? The tagline of the book is:
Oil is scarce. But loyalty is scarcer.
And that couldn't be a better summarisation of what the novel is about. I was thankful that, even though a lot of the story is built around trust (or lack of) and relationships, there was no birds-singing, cupids-flying, starry-eyed romance; it seems to be an almost unavoidable component in modern dystopian fiction and it made a nice, refreshing change.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After reading Water Knife I had to read Bacigalupi's other stories, and this was my purchase.
Absolutely brilliant. Lived up to Water Knife in every way.
Brilliant work from Mr B as usual. Characters and plot are only slightly removed from this world, so the suspension of belief is light, and the totally plausible. Read morePublished 11 months ago by international
About a youth who works in the Gulf Coast region of the United States with crews of people who dismantle ships for their recyclables. Read morePublished 11 months ago by ellison
Ship Breaker is a gripping read, with an engaging protagonist, but it is the world building that is the real star. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Penelope Swan
A new look for the future, interesting, exciting and packed with adventure. I Can't wait to read his next book.Published on 4 May 2015 by Peter Gurd
Really not as good as Pump 6 and other stories, or the windup girl. Get those instead.Published on 1 April 2015 by Iksrejam
Amazing novel, bought it to for my son to take on our vacation and ended up reading it myself.Published on 4 Aug. 2014 by mark
I was looking for something after the Hunger Games that was different yet still dystopian... I started with the Rot and Ruin books (zombies, but don't let that put you off, great... Read morePublished on 13 May 2014 by Bluekapow