Ship Breaker Book Review

A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.

–Amazon Book Description

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi


From the inside cover: In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works a 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 the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who lead him to a better life.  In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw uncertain future.

So. I didn’t quite find this book to be any of these things. Then again, it’s not like I could make it through enough chapters to find out. It sort of sounded interesting and I borrowed it from the library thinking that I might have discovered a gem.

Ha. Yeah…

Let’s just say this was average in almost every way. It didn’t grip me. I couldn’t get over the fact that the main character’s name was Nailer, which sounds like this Bionicle character my brother made up (a combination of Napuru and Jailer). The beginning was boring. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard in a dystopian novel. It kind of reminded me of the Storm Thief, except that was interesting.

I’m sure some people will enjoy this. It wasn’t unreadable, but for a kid pressed for time, it was not worth it. I actually, I don’t know if it’s worth anyone’s time unless you already enjoy the sort of run of the mill writing this guys does.

It seems to take forever for the book to pick up, for any of those “thrilling” events to happen. The end is about as cheesy as they get. It’s the sort you come across five or six times when you read a lot. The Iamhome/myfutureisbright sort of end. Where you just know everything is going to be okay.

Yes, I admit to having skimmed the middle. I’m guilty, but I would forever regret any time I spent reading this. It was just mind-numbingly average. And I’ve got better things to do than indulge in the mundane.

For better dystopian novels for teen with a similar theme, I suggest The Storm Thief by Chris Wooding.

Ri’s Rating:


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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  1. Interesting coincidence, that the last book I read happens to be reviewed on your blog! I also thought it was nothing special, and was disappointed, since it’s an award-winner and I expected better. But it wasn’t so awful! I was able to enjoy the story. You’re being a bit harsh . . . then again, you always are, aren’t you? ;)

  2. Oh, by the way, did you notice that this author had an obsession with using the word “blossom” in reference to pain? Every time Nailer was in pain, he always used that same word! It bugged me so much!


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