19 July 2012

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Mahlia's entire history has left her in a dangerous world, caught in the middle of a never-ending war. As part Chinese Castoff and part Drowned Cities, she fits in nowhere and is accepted by no one, except for Mouse, a kid who saved her life at the last moment with simple dumb luck, and the kind Doctor Mahfouz who has taken her into his home as his medical assistant, despite that she only has one hand (the other taken from her by the violence of war).

Tool is a creation of war. He is part man, part animal, and like Mahlia is accepted by no one. He has no real home except for the battlefield. He has been created and groomed to answer only to his master and his purpose is to fight to the death. He is the ultimate creature of survival, but half-men can never truly be free.

Mahlia and Tool end up in the unlikely scenario of being each others' companions and saviors. Unfortunately, there are rarely winners in any war. Recommended to all older readers, especially those who like dystopian novels and tales of war, survival, or adventure. This title is the companion to Printz Award-winning Ship Breaker, and both stories offer much food for thought.

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