The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi {Book Review}

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book.

The blurb was intriguing and already thought-provoking but I never imagined it could be as amazing as it turned out to be.

I’ve never read any of Paolo Bacigalupi’s books before so I’m usually weary of new authors, but now that I know what to expect from his books, I want to read them all.

The Drowned Cities is the second book from the Ship Breaker series but can be read as a stand alone book. There is also enough background information given about the first book, Ship Breaker, to understand where the story started and what’s going on.

I highly recommend this book to those who love dystopian novels, that want to understand more about the effects of war and be left with a mind full of questions and thoughts.

This has definitely been one of my favourite reads of the year.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book Review: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi #bookreview #readingcommunity


In a dystopian future, America is controlled by violence. Terror. Grief. No one is an exception.

Young refugees, Mahlia and Mouse have escaped from the war-crippled Drowned Cities into the jungle. When they find a bioengineered war beast, Tool, wounded, they realise they are in danger when they discover that he is being hunted by a band of soldiers.

One is taken prisoner by deadly soldier boys while the other is faced with a difficult decision: risk it all to save a friend or flee to save themselves.


Let me just start off by saying: wow, just freaken wow!

There are multiple point of view changes in the book, and usually I’m not a fan of that, but this book pulled it off. It was necessary to have it written like that to help readers understand what each character was feeling and thinking, and it’s important for the plot to be able to do this.

I really enjoyed the depths of all the characters, even the villains, as they were well-written. Each of them brought a specific role to the book and it was perfectly executed. I admired the courage, the desperation and the will to live, as well as the betrayals.

Tool, the half man/half animal, was the most fascinating character and seeing his character growth in the book was delightful. He’s the perfect soldier with human characteristics which makes him highly unpredictable and you end up rooting for him early on in the book.

The one unexpected death at the end, the author was brave to let them happen after emotionally building up the character and their fate throughout the book and I won’t lie if I say I was pretty mad when I read the part about it.

This is a book about war and the author kept it as raw as possible to fully explore the effects of many situations that are already happening in many countries in today’s age. Suffering. Child soldiers. Death.

The author did a good job with portraying a dystopian universe with current affairs.

It covers the harsh realities of survival and there’s no sugar coating: it shows the unfortunate lengths that people will go through to stay alive.

I wouldn’t put this book under the Young Adult genre due to the graphic violence, language and some sexual conduct. This book also needs maturity to be truly understood and appreciated.

I had intense reading sessions throughout the book and although I didn’t cry, I did feel anxiety as the characters fought through difficult situations and at times felt like it was the end of their lives.


This is a deep and thought-provoking book, more than I could’ve imagined. It also explores the physical and psychological effects of war, and the author makes this deliberate.

I will recommend it over and over again.

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 3.90 on GoodReads. I gave it a 5.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi {Book Review} #bookreview #readingcommunity

Have you read The Drowned Cities?

You can purchase it here.

Do you have a book you want reviewed?
Send me an email:

More reviews from the DYSTOPIAN genre:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s