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The Drowned Cities

The Drowned Cities is a YA dystopian sci-fi novel, and the companion to Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi.

I was a fan of Ship Breaker, as you can see from my review here. However, there aren’t really any spoilers from that novel in The Drowned Cities, they just take place in the same universe. So you should be safe.

Here we meet war maggots in the Drowned Cities – refugee children that no one wants. Mahlia and Mouse have barely survived – constantly under suspicion after each death, as though they may have caused it. Their life is a hard one, but a kindhearted doctor keeps them alive – one of the very few that gives them a chance.

But when the opportunity to escape the Drowned Cities occurs, they take it. Violence is overtaking the Cities, and it seems that they might be able to find a semblance of safety – until they run across a wounded half-man, a bioengineered beast named Tool. He’s being hunted by soldiers – and sends Mahlia and Mouse into the line of fire.

When their new situation leads to a tragedy, Mahlia must make one of the most dangerous decisions of her life: go it alone and quite possibly be safe, or risk everything for the boy who once saved her life?

Alrighty, now before I delve too deeply into my opinions I want to be clear: a lot has been going on in my life currently. I’m fine, it’s not life or death - just a bit of an overhaul, but sometimes when stuff happens it can affect your perception of the book you’re reading.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that this happened this time around. Despite The Drowned Cities having a vivid, well-developed dystopia world, I just could not get into it, no matter how hard I tried. I think maybe the darkness and unpleasantness that is done so well, was too much for me when I might have preferred lightness.

I did skim the entire book, thoroughly, after giving it about seventy pages to change my mind. So, I know where it went, how it ended, etc. From what I could tell, it was decent. Probably more so. But, to be honest, the plot wasn’t as thrilling, suspenseful, or involving as Ship Breaker was to me.

But there are themes of loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice amidst a somber, dreary, cruel time – which is stirring. And I know that that The Drowned Cities most definitely deserves a better chance than I was able to give it at this time.

So, as always, I encourage you to read it if it sounds like your genre, etc. This time around, I just wasn’t pulled in enough, and therefore I could not push myself to spend too much time on it. Sorry!

*I received a review copy of The Drowned Cities from Hachette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

Also, for all you dystopia lovers - there's a YA book called The Forsaken that came out yesterday by Lisa Stasse. To see the book trailer, go here:


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