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.
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.