The Drowned Cities
by Paolo Bacigalupi
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 had heard how great Ship Breaker was...it won awards, even... but I just hadn't had time to read another dystopian book in the last year or so that wasn't already high on my priorities list. Well, I'm gonna have to make time to go back and read it now, because the companion book was stellar.
This book is set in a dark, war torn dystopian United States (well, what's left of it, that is...). It is gritty and violent and compelling. There is no romance and really little hope. Yet... you read continuously searching for the seeds of hope and finding little hints that it may yet be there to find.
Reminiscent of the darkest portions of The Hunger Games, Bacigalupi is an author for those readers who do not want their gritty future tied to romance... this is for a more hard core, action seeking science fiction reader.