It's day one of Best I've Read 2012 here at A Reader's Ramblings and I've decided to start the week off with a book that totally snuck up on me in the best way possible. I picked this book up at my favorite book store in WI and read it while on vacation. As soon as I finished (about...oh...3 hours after I started it), I immediately wanted to read everything the author, Paolo Bacigalupi, had ever written. It's that good.
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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. (from goodreads.com)
So why is this book "that good" as I stated in the opening? Well for starters it all takes place in a place that it at once instantly identifiable and yet so horrifyingly foreign. That's what I love about many dystopian stories. Really good ones make it easy to believe that this is our future, that we could end up living in a world like Mahlia and Mouse do, that we are just a few decisions away from a world like you see in The Drowned Cities. That's what makes it fun to read.
This books is so beautifully written as well, you can see what they see and each character, even the ones you aren't supposed to care about work their way into your mind and you begin to really care about whether they win or lose, whether they survive or die. Plus, this isn't a love story. In so many stories there is that moment when you think to yourself "Oh...so these two are going to meet and fall in love and blah, blah, blah". Not here. There are relationships here, friendships, love, but the story is more firmly rooted in looking at the humanity of people and how far you will go to save a friend, even if you risk losing yourself.
This isn't Bacigalupi's only book about this particular American future. His first book, Ship Breaker first introduces some character's that turn up in The Drowned Cities. I wish that I had read Ship Breaker first, but I am so glad that I stumbled upon this series regardless of the order!
That's right everyone- one fabulous part of Best I've Read is that there are a ton of giveaways. On my site, on the main BIR site and on all the other participating blogs sites. What could be better then free books right before the holidays!
Rules of the game: All contests will end at midnight on Friday the 21st. Books will be shipped directly from the publisher, so your information will be shared with them in order to get you your prize! Prizes will most likely not be mailed until after the 1st of the year, so hang in there, they will come! Winners will receive an email from me Saturday the 22nd and you will have 48 hours to claim your prize, so check your mailboxes. All contests are US only unless otherwise noted.
Good Luck and happy reading!
Don't forget to check out all the other participating blogs:
Best I've Read 2012
Portrait of a Book
Books Complete Me
Once Upon a Twilight
Cindy Thomas, YA Author
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer