The Drowned Cities by Paolo BacigalupiThe Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Drowned Cities

byPaolo Bacigalupi

Paperback | May 7, 2013

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This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's bestselling award-winnerShip BreakerandTool of Waris a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.
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.

"Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA map withThe Hunger Games...but Bacigalupi is one of the genre's masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally imaginative story lines." --Los Angeles Times

A 2012 Los Angeles Public Library Best Teen BookA 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults BookA 2013 CBC at Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year BookA 2013 Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens Book
A Junior Library Guild SelectionA 2014 Tennessee Volunteer Book Award Nominee

Paolo Bacigalupiis theNew York Timesbestselling author of the highly acclaimedThe Drowned CitiesandShip Breaker, a Michael L. Printz Award winner and a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of the Edgar Awards nomineeThe Doubt Factory;a novel for younger readers,Zombie Baseball Beatdown;and two bestselling adult novels fo...
Title:The Drowned CitiesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 inPublished:May 7, 2013Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316056227

ISBN - 13:9780316056229


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as the first First book was exceptional. This one a little less
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love his writing 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!
Date published: 2014-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Totally amazing a real page turner! Pablo Bacigalupi does it again with this futuristic (maybe not too far off), tale of hope and survival in a dark and nasty time. Can't wait to read more!
Date published: 2013-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Paolo Bacigalupi writes another amazing novel Having just finished (and loved) the audio of Ship Breaker last week, I was excited to start reading The Drowned Cities. I knew it would be good, I just didn't expect it to be even more amazing than the first book! The Drowned Cities serves as a companion novel to Ship Breaker. It takes place in the same world, but a different cast of characters dominate this story. I was happy to see more of Tool in this book. He was such a complicated and wonderful secondary character in Ship Breaker is was nice to learn more about him. I had some preconceived notions about his character and I was pleasantly surprised, as the more I read the more layers there were to his personality. The same goes for all the characters in this book. Not a single one is one dimensional or boring and even the so called “bad guys” were relateable (For example - the soldier, Ocho is probably one of my favourite characters of the year.) The world building in this novel is also spectacular. I talked about Paolo's ability to paint a picture in my review of Ship Breaker, so I won't expand on it to much here, since there are a lot of similarities. I will say, however, that I preferred the jungle-like setting of The Drowned Cities more than the costal setting of Ship Breaker. I just didn't feel as cold and damp when I was reading this novel. Finally, I like this novel, because it's clear that Paolo Bacigalupi respects his readers. In this horribly disturbing world he has created, he doesn't avoid the negative. He doesn't just allude to it or steer his characters away from it, which is a common gripe I have with some YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. Here bad stuff happens and it happens to all the characters. People die, are tortured, have their lives immediately threatened in horrible ways. It is not a sugar coated world. This makes his stories even more realistic and gritty and so much more interesting to read about. Final recommendation: A must read for anyone who is a fan of good storytelling with realistic characters. The Drowned Cities is now tied with The Wind up Girl for my favourite Paolo Bacigalupi novel and I will happily buy any book he writes the day it comes out from now on. This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (
Date published: 2012-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Spin-off more than Sequel Okay hypothetically Paolo Bacigalupi made Drowned Cities to be a sequel to Ship Breaker and while I immediately fell in love with Ship Breaker I struggled to open myself up to Drowned Cities because I had been so intent on a book directly related to the first one that it took me a while to warm up to it. Drowned Cities starts off with a brief story on one of the minor characters in Ship Breaker but then spins away in a completely new direction. Drowned Cities introduces us to a whole new cast and a new perspective on things, providing readers with a completely new story although it does incorporate some of the familiar faces of the first novel, Drowned Cities could easily stand alone entirely separate from Ship Breaker. If you go in knowing that this book is more of a support than a sequel it is hard to deny Paolo's gift when it comes to writing. He offers his readers choices and then snatches them away leaving them aching and following his plot through the pages like a faithful companion. It's hard to not marvel at his societal ideas and how the world is. Aside from a few minor fantastical elements, Paolo provides us with a very real way society could progress providing us with a true post-apocalyptic narrative that will leave readers craving more. If you have never read Paolo's works before I guarantee you he is an author worth reading.
Date published: 2012-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Really Great Read!! I'm feeling kind of bad because this is the second book in the Ship Breaker series and I didn't read the first one. Even though I read them out of order, because I will be reading the first book, I have to say I really enjoyed The Drowned Cities. There were a few things that confused me, but I think I'll understand those things a bit better after I read Ship Breakers. I don't think it makes that much of a difference in terms of the story line since there is only one character in common, so I'm told. This was my first time reading a book by Paolo Bacigalupi and I have to say, he's a pretty darn amazing writer! As for the cover, it probably wouldn't catch my eye right away but after a read through the synopsis, I had to read it. The Drowned Cities revolves around a few different characters, showing each of their struggles and thoughts. There is Tool, a half-man, who just wants to escape and be free, not taking orders from anyone. Mahlia, a cast off, left by her father to die in the Drowned Cities with her mother. Mouse, a "war maggot", whose family was killed by the soldier boys. Then there is Ocho, one of the soldier boys, but he isn't like the rest, he seems to still have feelings and compassion. All anyone wants is to stay alive and be free, but in the warring world, it's easier said than done. There are very few adults left, so all that is left for recruiting is the children. Giving boys guns isn't exactly the best thing to do. Some of them can get a little trigger happy and ammo is scarce. Can they get their freedom? One of the nice things about The Drowned Cities is that there was no romance. At least none that I was able to see. It's somewhat of a nice change. We have a kick butt female character who's not drooling over some boy for once. Very refreshing. And Mahlia is pretty kick butt. She is first and foremost a survivor, everything she does is something she feels will ensure her survival. She only has one hand, and yet she still takes off into the jungle to save her friend because while she wants to survive, she is very loyal to Mouse. Tool, the half-man is a very interesting character. If you've never read one of these books before, you've probably been wondering what exactly a half-man is. Well, he's a bio engineered beast, whose instinct is to kill. He is human, jackal, bloodhound and tiger, all of their best traits. Super human strength and speed, he can decimate a group of soldiers in no time. He is deadly, and yet he helps Mahlia. Overall, The Drowned Cities is an action packed story that I had a hard time putting down. You think I would be tired of dystopian worlds after how many I've read recently, but this was really good. I would suggest reading Ship Breaker first because it might give a little more information on the world. I never really figured out why everyone is fighting, so maybe it explains a bit more. I also want more background on Tool, to figure out why he's the way he is. Either way, this was definitely a great story that I really enjoyed and I would highly recommend it! Thank you HBG Canada for the review copy.
Date published: 2012-05-05

Editorial Reviews

"A new Paolo Bacigalupi novel is reason to celebrate--no matter how old you are."-The Associated Press