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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 lo…

The Drowned Cities

by Paolo Bacigalupi

Overall Book Review:

The Drowned Cities is an exciting, fast-paced, and violent book taking place in the distant future, where the American government has collapsed and Washington D.C. is sinking into the ocean, filled with vicious factions fighting for control.  Right away, Bacigalupi throws you into the actions, terror, and corruption of his world.  The plot moves  along quickly, only slowing down a little bit in the middle, and finishing with a heart-pounding finale.  The world Bacigalupi has developed feels like it could have been set during the Vietnam war.  This, along with many symbols and motifs that are present in the novel, provide the basis for thought-provoking themes outside of the plot’s theme, such as friendship.  Overall, an exciting book that will keep you riveted for hours until you finish.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  45 mild obscenities; 5 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 28 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore: Many incidences in as many ways as the imagination permits, including crushing brains; a messy scene after a woman gives birth; several deaths and wounds via gunshot/machete/claws and teeth/acid/drowning; part of a village is massacred; soldiers are attacked and mauled by a group of wolf/coyote hybrids;  eating hearts and cutting off fingers.

Sex/Nudity:  It is implied and reported that one character slept with a prostitute.

Mature Subject Matter:

Loss of innocence, war, family, social conflicts.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Young soldiers drink alcohol, take methaphatemine, and several other drugs on multiple occasions.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I enjoy reading adventure books like Gary Paulsen’s The Hatchet, probably because I like to lead an active life. Outside of reading, I camp, hike, run cross country and work on a farm, and a lot of these experiences let me appreciate the content of a good book, as well as the unlimited possibilities that can happen between its covers.