Ship Breaker #3
by Paolo Bacigalupi
Published on October 10, 2017 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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This third book in a major series by a bestselling science fiction author, Printz Award winner, and National Book Award finalist is the gripping story of the most provocative character from his acclaimed novels Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities.
Tool, a half-man/half-beast designed for combat, is capable of so much more than his creators had ever dreamed. He has gone rogue from his pack of bioengineered "augments" and emerged a victorious leader of a pack of human soldier boys. But he is hunted relentlessly by someone determined to destroy him, who knows an alarming secret: Tool has found the way to resist his genetically ingrained impulses of submission and loyalty toward his masters... The time is coming when Tool will embark on an all-out war against those who have enslaved him. From one of science fiction's undisputed masters comes a riveting page-turner that pulls no punches.
For not reading the first two books in this series beforehand (yeah, not my smartest move) I actually really enjoyed this book. Tool of War felt like the complete opposite of so many young adult novels I’ve read. It’s dark. It’s dystopian. And usually I’m not a fan of the genre because every book sounds like something I’ve already read but I loved seeing a book that really tackled the genre beyond some bad things in the world.
This world sucks. I mean really sucks. It’s grim and the worst/best part is that I could believe this was in our world’s future. Bacigalupi really brought it with the imaginative world-building. I think that’s the strength of this book and something that I really enjoyed. I always appreciate an author developing their world to the point that the reader feels fully immersed. Now I do think that I lost some of that world-building overall, having jumped right in with this book rather than tackling the first two beforehand (so if you have read the previous installments then I think you’ll be really happy with Tool of War).
That lack of background did impact how I perceived the characters a bit as their dynamics weren’t clear to me, but I thought Tool was interesting. But that interest waxed and waned over the course of the book. The story was. . . kind of all over the place, really. I think that mostly came down to the pacing. There were points where Tool just went on and on. . . and on. And then we’d get ACTION and it’d be great for a short time then back to draaggggggiiinnngggg. But those action scenes killed it. They brought the fire that this book needed.
Granted, now I want to read the first two books and see how they go because I’m intrigued and perhaps I would re-rate this book higher afterward.
I ended up enjoying this book overall. Perhaps not as much as I could have but I definitely ended it on a positive note and look forward to reading more from this author!