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Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, Bk 1)
Ship Breaker - Ship Breaker, Bk 1
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota -- and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780316056212
ISBN-10: 0316056219
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Pages: 336
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 28 ratings
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 11
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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reviewed Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, Bk 1) on + 2524 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is the second Paolo Bacigalupi book I have read; the first was The Windup Girl. I liked this book a lot better than The Windup Girl; while the Windup Girl was more complex it was also a lot slower moving. This book presents us with a post-apocalyptic world which is thought provoking and a story which moves at a good pace with intriguing characters. I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. The narrator is a little deliberate and talks kind of slowly, so I ended up listening to it at 1.25x the original speed, so that I could stay engaged.

Nailer works stripping down oilers, he's part of the Light Crew...the crew that strips copper wire out of the ducts of old tankers. His life definitely isn't the best; he has a father who beats him, barely enough food to survive, and the Light Crew work is grueling. But when a city-killing hurricane (category 6) hits their beach Nailer's life changes. After the storm blows over him and his crew boss Pima find a clipper washed up on shore. There is enough in the clipper to make them filthy rich, but there is one complication they also find a girl who is still alive aboard. This girl complicates things and throws Nailer into a crazy adventure.

Like The Windup Girl this is a gritty novel. These people live in an ugly world that is run by corporations who don't care what happens to humanity as long as they are making a profit. I find it a fascinating world (even if it is dark and dank) and it is interesting to read about. The world and the way it is run brings up a lot of political questions and questions around ethics. With this book though that is less central to the story than the journey of Nailer.

As in The Windup Girl none of the characters are all that likable, although at points Nailer comes close. They are very gritty and realistic though; they are what I imagine people surviving in those types of conditions might be like. They are interesting though. Outside of Nailer, we really don't get to see into any of the characters a reader he is the only one we really get to know and connect with. This definitely isn't a book focused on characteriztion.

It was an engaging story, so many horrible and lucky things happen to Nailer that it makes the outcome of the story very hard to predict. There are a lot of twists and turns, lots of action and adventure.

Overall I enjoyed the story more than The Wind Up Girl. The world presented is a creative and original one that is fascinating to read about. Characterization definitely takes a backseat to the plot itself. The plot is twisty turny and hard to predict, which makes the book very engaging. It was a decent post-apocalyptic young adult novel; it is mainly about the good and bad turns Nailer's life takes. In the background issues about corporate responsibility, genetic engineering, and racism are addressed. People who enjoy dark and gritty worlds and sea adventures in a post-apocalyptic setting will probably enjoy this book.
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reviewed Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, Bk 1) on + 74 more book reviews
It took me a while to get into this book, probably because it was so depressing. However, I think that many people in third-world countries may already be living a life similar to the one depicted in this book. I appreciated how themes like family, loyalty, trust, etc were at least as important as the dystopian themes.
reviewed Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, Bk 1) on + 942 more book reviews
Nailer is part of a crew of who salvages metals from ships that are no longer useful in a world without fossil fuels. As he strips copper from the lines he falls through a weakened panel into a pool of oil where he struggles to live. When he finds a door opening into the sea, he is saved. A huge storm called a city-breaker scours the area and beaches a clipper, one of the current modes of transportation.

Nailer and Pima, his boss from the salvage crew, find a marooned clipper ship filled with dead people. Lots of salvage available but as they check out the loot, one person is not dead - a beautiful young woman named Nita. Nita owns the ship. All is going well until Nailer's sadistic and cruel father arrives with his crew to claim the wreck for themselves and the reward for the lovely Nita whose story keeps changing.

The scenario for this story occurs following rising seas, exploitation of all the oil in the world. Some people are very rich called "swanks" by Nailer and others who strive just to make a living if they can. I felt that this was a most interesting and well written story. Nailer is the hero but he is not without his faults so the reader can really identify with him. I liked it.

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Original Publication Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
Nailer (Primary Character)
Tool (Major Character)
Richard Lopez (Major Character)
Sadna (Major Character)
Prima (Major Character)
(Show all 7 People/Characters)