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The Drowned Cities [Kindle Edition]

Paolo Bacigalupi
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.00
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $2.01 (18%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
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Book Description

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

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.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In the ruins of an America toppled by greed, gas shortages, and flooding caused by climate change, civil war runs rampant. Orphans Mahlia and Mouse have been taken in by a kindly doctor, but when they cross the wrong soldier boys, even he may not be able to save them. Mahlia has turned hateful and pessimistic since the maiming that left her without a right hand. She decides that hope lies in saving a bioengineered soldier-beast, a half-man, who could protect her as she flees the Drowned Cities. It is only when Mouse is taken by soldier boys that Mahlia turns deep into the city's broken heart to try to rescue him. Joshua Swanson brings to life Bacigalupi's dark and compelling companion (2012) to his Printz Award-winning title, Ship Breaker (2010, both Little, Brown). Good pacing and staunch delivery keep listeners on the edge of their seats as Mahlia and Mouse fight to survive in a post-apocalyptic America. The inclusion of a creepy half-man ratchets up the tension a notch for the whole second half of the listening experience. In libraries where patrons are clamoring for solid dystopian novels, this will be a solid choice.-Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


* "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." (Publishers Weekly, starred review )

* "The novel's greatest success lies in the creation of a world that is so real, the grit and decay of war and ruin will lay thick on the minds of readers long after the final page. The narrative, however, is equally well crafted.... Breathtaking." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review )

* "Bacigalupi writes with a furious energy that makes this brilliant depiction of an all-too-believable future impossible to forget. A story that will resonate beyond its final page."
(Booklist, starred review )

* "Bacigalupi's intense, action-filled novel is a heartbreaking and powerfully moving portrait of individual resiliency amidst extreme circumstances that rivals, if not surpasses, the excellence of its predecessor." (The Horn Book, starred review )

* "Bacigalupi brings to life a post-apocalyptic America that thrills the mind." --(VOYA, starred review )

Product Details

  • File Size: 2308 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005SCR2ZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,019 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
"The Drowned Cities'" predecessor (and loose companion) "Ship Breaker" has already won Printz and was short-listed for National Book Award, and rightfully so. But I am wondering right now - was it not a tad premature to give Paolo Bacigalupi all these accolades? Because, frankly, "The Drowned Cities" is a far superior novel in comparison and, I guess, it is hard to expect similar acknowledgment of it, even if it is deserved? It appears, most of these awards are given once and the awarded authors are then promptly ignored? I wouldn't want this novel to be overlooked.

"The Drowned Cities" is a completely different story from "Ship Breaker." Paolo's intent for "Ship Breaker" was to write a boy book, with action, adventure and explosions, and with a little bit of a moral lesson about bravery and loyalty. But I doubt "The Drowned Cities" was written with the same agenda in mind. Or if it was, the final novel far exceeded its original intent. "The Drowned Cities" is a heavy, brutal, unequivocally message-driven story that no one will dismiss as a simple entertainment.

This is a story of war. The kind of war that is playing out in many parts of our world right now. The setting of "The Drowned Cities" is futuristic/dystopian (slightly post-apocalyptic?) - natural resources are scarce, global warming has caused a climate change and extensive flooding of many parts of the planet, US is torn by civil war the reasons for which no one can any longer remember, China is a mega power that attempts to act as a peacekeeper, there are genetically augmented "people" who do rich men's bidding in all spheres of life from war combat to sexual services (this later "sphere" is not actually written into this YA novel, but a part of the larger "The Windup Girl" universe).
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars uncomfortably real, and completely riveting April 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow. Few authors can blow me away like Bacigalupi can. After I finished this book, I had to just sort of sit there catching my breath (I felt the same way after finishing Ship Breaker). Bacigalupi can *go there* like no other YA author I've read.

This book is brutal and no punches are pulled, but not in a gratuitous way. The violence is real and believable and absolutely necessary to the story. Actually, it IS the story.

This is a companion novel to Ship Breaker: America is no longer, and the east-central region is rife with civil war. There are several factions fighting for control, each calling themselves true patriots, but are really just warlords seeking power. Everything about it reminds me of certain areas of Africa, which made it real and extremely uncomfortable, and yet I couldn't stop reading.

Mahlia and Mouse have grown up in the Drowned Cities, which is the Washington D.C. area. They knew a short time of Peace when China intervenes in an attempt to end the fighting (and this reminds me of the Middle East). In the end, though, China pulls out and the fighting resumes as though it had never stopped. Ten years isn't long enough to erase animosity and hatred, real or imagined. Any semblance of peace is shattered, and soldiers go where they please, take whatever they want in the name of patriotism, and leave a path of destruction behind them. Mahlia and Mouse learned how to stay out of the soldiers' paths, but then Tool enters their lives.

Tool is the only character from Ship Breaker--half man, half animal hybrid of dog, hyena, tiger, and a few other predators. He was built with one purpose in mind, to fight in a war.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible book, from start to finish! May 15, 2012
First Impressions: Paolo Bacigalupi's novel, Ship Breaker, was incredible! For anyone who has not already read the book, you are totally missing out! The Drowned Cities was high on my list of must-reads for this year since I loved the first book so much. This author has an amazing talent and I knew that he would be able to write a wonderful companion novel to Ship Breaker. I have to say that I think I like the cover art more on this book as well. Paolo really takes the dystopian genre to a whole new level!

First 50 Pages: I would be hesitant to suggest reading The Drowned Cities to a younger reader. This book like the last is dark and gritty all the way around. The setting is dark, there is some cursing and drug use, the characters are highly flawed, and there are some sexual bits thrown in for good measure. So if any of those things make you feel uncomfortable, you may want to pass on reading this book. However, what I love about this book is that it is plausible and the hope for the characters isn't completely lost even though the conditions everyone faces are extremely drab. You don't have to look very far to find all of the good messages this book contains.

Paolo's writing is fabulous as usual in The Drowned Cities, which for me, was expected. The pacing of the book seemed to run well, although I think that this book had much more action then the last. Just know that the author doesn't hold back when describing anything, so you get all of the dirty little details about everything gruesome and disgusting. I also think that both genders will love this book, as well as adult readers. I know that once I picked it up, it was so difficult to put back down. A lot of people felt that the first book was more geared towards boys, but I disagree. Girls like lots of action too!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars were fantastic and elegant reads
He gives a unique perspective on the future where technology has either failed or forgotten large swaths of the world. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stefan Muirhead
4.0 out of 5 stars but even so the story is just as good. The story revolves around 2...
Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Drowned Cities" is more of a companion rather than sequel to 2011's "Ship Breaker", but even so the story is just as good. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul L.
5.0 out of 5 stars I think its great at any age
I don't know why this is listed as young adult literature. I think its great at any age.
Published 2 months ago by Jacob Tannenbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read - for all ages.
A very well-written and entertaining book! I got it for my twelve year old son, who loved it. I also have read both in the series and am a big fan of P.B. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Otto Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical post apocalyptic adventure
The best thing about Paolo Bacigalupi's writing is his character development. You are interested in and care about his characters. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Colleen Stinar
4.0 out of 5 stars Too bad it was a short story
Too bad it was a short story! I was really getting into the plot line. Not quite as powerfully developed as his great Windup Girl or other eco-dystopian futures but not bad at all.
Published 3 months ago by beantown paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Who loves Tool?
What can I say? Another brilliant book by a brilliant author.


I felt like there was some plot recycling. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gatsby
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great read
Published 5 months ago by Dale Bone
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome follow on to The Ship Breakers
Both this and the book that precedes it are excellent. Paolo Bacigalupi continues to impress.
Published 5 months ago by Brian Feinberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read!
Published 5 months ago by pete monteleone
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More About the Author

Paolo Bacigalupi is a Hugo, Nebula, and Michael L. Printz Award Winner, as well as a National Book Award Finalist. He is also a winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and a three-time winner of the Locus Award. His short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and High Country News. He lives in Western Colorado with his wife and son, where he is working on a new novel.

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