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The Drowned Cities

by Paolo Bacigalupi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ship Breaker (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0116617,201 (3.86)62
In a dark future America that has devolved into unending civil wars, orphans Mahlia and Mouse barely escape the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities, but their fragile safety is soon threatened and Mahlia will have to risk everything if she is to save Mouse, as he once saved her.
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» See also 62 mentions

English (65)  French (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Not really a sequel to Ship Breaker, The Drowned Cities is about war, the life of those living in it, loyalty, and the fact that hope will never die.

Mahlia is a wonderfully complex character, with a realistic journey between hatred and survival to loyalty and looking for the better options; Ocho, as well, is a sympathetic though despicable character. Mouse isn't the most developed, but he doesn't need to be - he just needs to represent family and friendship and love. Tool is the most complex and opaque character - why he rebelled against his training yet continues to help Mahila (and the choice he makes at the end) are mysteries yet still entirely in character. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
Not as brilliant as THE WIND-UP GIRL, but very well done, and of a piece with SHIP BREAKERS. YA in level, thought provoking, insightful about human nature, very good book in its genre. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Like Ship Breaker, this is set in an interesting world of a future U.S. that has been ravaged by climate change and war. Darker and sadder than Ship Breaker but still a good read. ( )
  Sarah220 | Jan 23, 2021 |
I am typing this review with shaking hands. In part, this is because my house is a bit on the cool side; mostly, it's the book.

This is the third of Paulo Bacigalupi's science fiction books set in a post-global-warming, post-oil world; the first was for grown-ups, and the second two were marked young-adult. [b:Ship Breaker|7095831|Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)|Paolo Bacigalupi|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327874074s/7095831.jpg|7352929] was a fairly light read, for a novel centred on a young boy growing up in a beach-side tropical slum, making a living fishing oil remnants out of old broken boats for sale on the black market. [b:The Windup Girl|6597651|The Windup Girl|Paolo Bacigalupi|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1278940608s/6597651.jpg|6791425], the book for adults, was far darker, with a level of brutality I found hard to take. What they both shared was a world in which the changed climate and all of its predicted effects had taken place, and which feels utterly real. He takes the scientific papers and projections and turns them into a place where people live and die (mostly die).

So, too, with the Drowned Cities, only moreso--because it is closer to home, taking place in a east-coast US former-metropolis, now underwater and home to endless civil war, and because the main characters are children. Again, the world is very real--too real. Our civilization may have crumbled; oceans, jungles and tropical storms may have swallowed our coasts; but we still have children, only now those children grow up surrounded by war and in a constant state of poverty. Then the war swallows them up, turns them into soldiers, makes them party to and witnesses of every kind of savagery, kills their families and friends.

Nothing that happens to the children in this book hasn't already happened to children alive today, in countries currently at civil war. I can't imagine recommending this to a child before high school. And what does that say, that I could never ask a child to go through the experience of reading about it, when the logical end of every societal and political and personal decision we make today is going to condemn so many children to living it? ( )
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
The Drowned Cities takes place after Ship Breaker, yet is largely a stand alone book which asides from the character Tool being carried forward is a cast of new characters. It would be quite possible to enjoy Drowned Cities without having read Ship Breaker, yet having read it beforehand you are provided a richer view into the bleak and crumbling world the author presents.

I quite enjoyed the story of survival presented within the pages, it's not your average young adult book in that there is quite a bit of violence of which the details are not skimmed over - such as the hands and feet being cut off of those the soldiers deem lesser - children of peacekeepers, soldiers from opposing armies, etc.

The ending is also unlike most young adult books in that like the world presented in the pages it is also bleak and whilst some goals of the characters are achieved, others are very much not.

Overall, it's excellent. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Sep 21, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
The Drowned Cities is an adventure story, a thriller and a sharply drawn fable about the state of the world today. It succeeds handily on all three fronts
added by 4leschats | editBook Page, Heather Seggel (May 1, 2012)
Beautifully written, filled with high-octane action, and featuring badly damaged but fascinating and endearing characters, this fine novel tops its predecessor and can only increase the author's already strong reputation.
added by 4leschats | editPublishers Weekly (pay site) (Mar 12, 2012)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foster, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swanson, JoshuaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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In a dark future America that has devolved into unending civil wars, orphans Mahlia and Mouse barely escape the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities, but their fragile safety is soon threatened and Mahlia will have to risk everything if she is to save Mouse, as he once saved her.

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Average: (3.86)
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2 8
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3 53
3.5 21
4 122
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