Book Review – The Drowned Cities

Book Review The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

I loved Paolo Balcigalupi’s novel, Ship Breaker. So when I saw this on the shelves of my local Barnes&Nobles, I had to get it. If you haven’t read Ship Breaker, I suggest you do. It’s a wonderful book with a great plot line, surprising twists and turns, and amazing well thought-out characters!

This book, which is for fans of dystopia fiction, is in plain words, amazing. It takes an interesting idea of what is to come, and twists it into something else. The characters are full of depth and you can easily connect to them, the writing is exquisite, and over all the book, in my opinion, was well worth the 20$ spent.

Mahlia, a cast-off, struggles to find her place where everyone shuns her because of who she is. Her best friend, a boy named Mouse, has come from the same background she has- a city destroyed by war. They live in a normal enough little town, in a shack with a doctor who had taken them in, until some uninvited guests come into play. Mahlia takes violent action, and soon becomes swept up into a dangerous game of wait and see. Mouse is taken captive by the Soldier Boys- children who fight in a war that is not theirs. Mahlia is forced to run into the war-strewn city with a new friend, in order to find Mouse again in the hopes that they may be reunited with each other. Add a war general, and a cellar full of treasures, and you’ve got trouble.


Now, you might be the one to wait until it comes out in paperback, but definitely put it on your must-read list. The novel is intended for young adults, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under fourteen. Not that I’m against younger teens and children to read on a higher level, but because I’m cautious.


Don’t be alarmed, this book has its fair share of blood and gore, after all, it’s placed in a war zone. You won’t be disappointed in the constant action, or the little twists and turns this novel contains. Paolo did an excellent job in writing the novel, and I can’t wait to see more of his work in print. Again, if you haven’t read his Printz Award Winning book, Ship Breaker, you’re missing out on a great book.


Ship Breaker:

Ship Breaker is placed in the junkyard, where children work on stripping old ships and barges of the metal in them, to sell to the larger companies. In order to work on stripping the precious wiring, you have to be small enough to fit in the nooks and crannies. When a hurricane washes up with some unexpected salvage, Nailer, a fourteen year old boy, finds a risk. He can either take the gold and the precious things the ship holds for himself, or he can save the life of an unexpected castaway. With his decision, he’s tumbled into a world of trouble. Not only does he have to run from his sadistic father, but he has to find someone who will help him and his castaway get away from the people following them as they journey towards the city. What they find, and what they get is far from what they expected.

This book didn’t defeat my interests either. It was amazing, and truly wonderful. It kept me hooked from the beginning, and it took me a total of three and a half hours to finish it once I settled down enough and focused.


Some more of his books include: The Windup Girl, Pump Six and Other Stories, The Alchemist, etc. I have yet to read them, though they are on my list for when I go to my local bookstore. Which should be soon, I only have a few more books sitting on my shelf from my last excursion.


Until then,



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