This is a tightly written book. Few words are wasted and even fewer are spent actually playing in the world he spent time creating. It’s so tightly sprung around the plot that there is little time for anything else. It rings similar to his previous effort (Oh, the hubris of man!) and shows a bleak future that seems like it would be a lot of fun to explore.
The problem is that we don’t. We follow the characters as they complete the journey demanded of them and then it ends. There is no time spent relishing the nuances of this new and dark world, it is instead left with what we find along the periphery of the characters.
All of this could have been forgiven if the plot had felt in anyway fresh, but boy rescuing girl hasn’t been unique this side of eons and it’s the world that makes demands on them that is truly interesting. Combine this with the main villain’s failure to evolve into anything other than an almost hilariously evil cardboard cutout of a bad guy. His legacy of violent is spoken largely in whispers and never really shown. His motivations are sporadic which I could forgive if we spent more time with him, but he seems to exist solely as a means to push the plot forward.
After reading this I’m left stymied and less than impressed with my first honest and aware indulgence into YA literature. I’m honestly hoping somewhere in this dense fog I can find something to hang my hat on.
“It’s human nature to tear one another apart. Be glad you come from such a successful line of killers.” ― Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker