August 30, 2011

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

In the near future, off the Gulf coast, Seventeen year old Nailer is part of a light crew whose mission is to strip old oil tankers of their valuable copper wire. Life is bitterly cruel, with little to live on and survival is dependent upon your personal will, wits and strength. Nailer's father is a sadistic drug user who is heartless and murders at whim. Nailer almost loses his life, when a crew mate abandons him after he falls in a pool of oil. Nailer faces another near death experience when a hurricane hits, and he decides to put his own life in danger to save his father. Following the hurricane, he discovers a ship wrecked cruiser, which has the promise to make him wealthy. While scavenging on board, he discovers the body of a teen-aged girl. Ready to cut off her fingers to take the gold surrounding them, he discovers she is alive. Torn if he should kill her, and take the bounty surrounding him, or save her, Nailer flashes on his own brush with death, and decides to spare her. He learns that the girl, Nita, is the daughter of a wealthy shipping company owner, and is being pursued by enemies of her father. The unlikely pair...a dirt poor crew member, and a wealthy "swank" form a relationship that is unlikely, yet compelling as they must escape their pursuers...Nailer's father and the enemies of Nita, who want her as a pawn to gain control of her father's wealth. A fascinating read, combining a violent dystopian world, with the strength and importance of trusting relationships.
Reed Reads Score: 4.5

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