Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012
Audience: All Teens
In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.
I loved Shipbreaker, and definitely wanted to learn more about Tool, so I was looking forward to reading The Drowned Cities. However, it wasn’t so much about Tool as it was about Mahlia. The Drowned Cities wasn’t as good as Shipbreaker in general and was way too long. As I read, I wondered if Bacigalupi had trouble with it (from his “Acknowledgements” section in the back, it seemed like he did.) At one point, two of the separated characters that needed to get back to each other just ran into each other - luck? Or did the author need to make sure the book wasn’t too long? Overall, it was just ok, but I’ll still read the third book when it comes out.