The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi

Publication Date:
May 1, 2012

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, 448 pages

CAD $19.99

A copy was provided by HBG Canada! Thank you!


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.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi’s highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

About the Author

Paolo Bacigalupi is the author of Ship Breaker, a Michael L. Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of The Windup Girl and Pump Six and Other Stories, and is a Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award winner. He lives in western Colorado with his wife and son.


What does it mean when the one person you value most in the world is taken from you? You fight back of course. And that’s what Mahlia does. Mahlia is so unbelievably stubborn. She just does what she wants and most times she gets in trouble when she makes the wrong decisions.

Omg! Intense and heart pounding! I love this one. Half men are scary as heck! Can you imagine a human with coyote, dog and tiger genes running through his veins? That’s what Tool is. But in reality he is so much more that a tool for violence. He has moral standards and his freedom to not have a master is quite compelling.

The setting is so bleak and discarded just like Shipbreaker and you can’t help but feel for the people who live in their world. War is their livelihood, and it’s too sad and depressing to read about child soldiers in this book when you very well know it still appears in reality. The hardships, and battles these children go through makes you wonder what it’s like to be living in a society ripped apart by war. Excellent writing Mr. Bacigalupi! I could have sworn this book could be just as exciting for adults as it is for teenagers!

Rating 5/5


“Do not seek to own what others have done.”—Tool (229