Ship Breaker- Audiobook Review

Version: Unabridged
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Narrator: Joshua Swanson
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Date: November 2012
Length: 9 hour, 11 minutes

 In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life…

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future. Goodreads.

The first thing I appreciated about Ship Breaker was the lack of back story. The more I read and understand writing, the more I learn that back story is quite unnecessary. Not until halfway through the book do we learn how and why Earth has changed so drastically. I appreciated the mystery. Paolo is a splendid story weaver. Between the ship breaking premise, the halfmen (combination of human, dog, and tiger genes) the relationship between Nailer and his father, I was hooked. My only qualm was that some of the writing tended to slow down, especially as there were a few phrases and words Bacigalupi repeated incessantly.

Joshua Swanson did a lovely job reading. His voices were unique and it was easy to distinguish between characters, especially because of his use of accents.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book. Today, I did discover there is a second book, The Drowned Cities, but I’m not convinced I’ll read it. Ship Breaker felt like a solid stand alone to me.

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8 thoughts about "Ship Breaker- Audiobook Review"

  • Ari says:

    Shipbreaker was great, but for what it’s worth, I started reading The Drowned Cities earlier this summer and I think I liked it even better. It’s a companion book, not a sequel (as far as I can tell, there’s only one character who appears in both). I had to return it to the library before I left town, but I’d love to finish it at some point. They’re both astonishingly vivid books. Gritty and raw and compelling. I couldn’t stop reading.

    • Juliana says:

      Well, considering I read Ship Breaker on your suggestion, I’ll trust you on The Drowned Cities, too 😉 I like that it’s a companion book, too. Thanks, Ari!

  • Sophia Chang says:

    Oooh I want to listen to this now that I know about the backstory thing.

  • ChemistKen says:

    Juliana, you mentioned the words and phrases that the author used incessantly. Do you think you noticed these more because it was an audio book? Just wondering.

    • Juliana says:

      It’s very likely. I do tend to notice overused words and phrases while reading, though it’s worse while listening to audiobooks. Interesting question!

  • Well written and thought-out review. The novel shows you can write a story about almost anything.

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