Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.
In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.
This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.
Set in the same horrific world as Bacigalupi's Printz-winning Ship Breaker, this superb, violent tale concerns "war maggots" Mahlia and Mouse, two kids trying to survive in an impoverished village not far from the tropical Drowned Cites that were once Washington, D.C. Life is a war zone, with gangs of marauders periodically sweeping the area raping, pillaging, and forcibly recruiting new boy soldiers for their half-remembered patriotic and religious causes. When Mouse is taken by the United Patriot Front, Mahlia, who has already lost a hand to the war, makes a foolhardy rescue attempt, aided by Tool, a hulking, genetically enhanced half-man, a killing machine who has broken away from his masters. Tool still remembers "how he and his pack had run the streets under fire, blades and machine guns held high," but finds himself forming a new pack of sorts with the determined Mahlia. 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. Ages 14 up.
Not quite as compelling as Ship Breaker but good nonetheless.
I've Been Waiting
Absolutely loved SHIP BREAKER (and THE WINDUP GIRL)! Excited to see the character Tool return in this book! Bacigalupi's themes of environmental devastation, genetic engineering, poverty, food shortages, etc., perhaps, portend where our world is headed in the not-to-distant future!
This book is harsh.
It's like a post apocalyptic American "hotel Rwanda " with a genetically created super killer in the middle of it. It is just super good.