Friday, December 31, 2010

Ship Breaker the most fun outside a comic book

Book 114: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

And so, the final book of 2010: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Bacigalupi's award-winning The Windup Girl was a wonder. Ship Breaker, shortlisted for the 2010 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, is another dazzling effort by this talented young writer, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.

Ship Breaker is set in a not too-distance future; perhaps the world a few years removed from The Windup Girl. Nailer, a teenage boy, is part of a salvage crew, breaking up the massive ships that dot the Louisiana coast and selling the copper wiring and other remnants for salvage.

After a massive storm strikes the coast, Nailer finds a clipper ship destroyed by the storm. Salvage the remains and his fortune can be made. On board, everyone is dead, except a girl Nailer's age. She is the heir to a shipping fortune and a pawn in a struggle for control of the shipping business.

That quickly we're off on a breakneck adventure that takes Nailer and the girl, now dubbed Lucky Girl, to crumbling remains of Orleans and then to the high seas, where a climatic battle takes place between two clippers while a fierce storm rages.

Anyone not picking up the occasional work written for young adults is missing the most fun since comic books. This is good stuff.

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