Publisher: Nightshade Books
Release date: April 2010
Rating: 8/10 lightsabers
Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...
Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.
What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.
Ohhh, the intrigue. This is Paolo Bacigalupi's first novel and it rocks. At first I thought it was slow, but then I realized that I had been reading Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series for a month and that series is action packed from start to finish. Anything I read after Dresden will always seem slow compared to it. After that realization, I really began to take in the entire landscape. Everything feels dirty and sketchy. It is a future I definitely wouldn't want to live in.
The genetically modified food debate is really hot right now. I've taken two classes in college that deal with this type of issue and I can tell you that people get heated with this topic. I thought it was fun to see how a writer could take a relevant issues and create a story around it. Are GMO'S harmful? Should we revert back to nature? Is Paolo's fictional future an actual possibility? A good author makes you think and Paolo has done that. I wouldn't be surprised if this book starts being taught in various college courses.
One of the things I liked most about this book was you don't really know which character to root for besides Emiko. Kind of like Lost. You only really root for Hugo because he's pretty much the only decent human being on the island. Anyways, Emiko is a windup girl aka a New People. She's a fantastic character and you really feel for her. You want her to find her people in the hills but you know she wont. The whole time I was just thinking, "Please Paolo, don't kill off Emiko. She's the only friggin character I care about". I won't say if he did or not because that would be *cue River Song's voice* spoilers.
It really says something when the most likable character in a book isn't even human. I will warn you that there is some pretty strong graphic violence towards Emiko. It's pretty horrifying. If you can't handle that then this probably isn't the book for you.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It takes a little while to catch on to the futuristic jargon, but you get used to that. I won't say the ending surprisded me. I pretty much knew what was going to happen. But once the shit hit the fan, the shit didn't stop hitting...and it was awesome.
Fans of dystopian novels will love this book. I give it 8/10 lightsabers and I'm pretty picky about giving out lightsabers. So yeah, go ahead and read this one. You'll thank me later.
And YOU, yeah, YOU. Thanks for reading.
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