Bacigalupi invents a colorful and detailed future where human and quasi-human toil to survive. Grim but not without hope. The story takes place in a tropical and swampy South Coast and follows the struggle of two teenagers to escape their enemies and survive in a relentless world. The two protagonists come from very different background and yet learn to be with each other. The scenario and story show great inventiveness. Well written and read.
I have read other alternative history novels (Destroyermen, Lost Regiment). They all work the same way: a time/space tunnel sends our all-American-heros to a backward and cruel world, some times human (as in this case), other times alien. Our guys find some naive local friends, teach them modern technology and together they overcome great difficulties and enemies, albeit never completely so that a new book in the series can be written and purchased by the eager fans of the series. It would be entertaining to figure out the history of this type of book plot to understand who copied whom. This book is written and read competently, can be listen to with ease and provides good mindless entertainment. The bad guys get whipped mercilessly making the listener feel warm and cozy. The story smells of neocolonialism as we finally find a receptive foreign crowd that soaks up the American way. Of course, being post medieval mittel-Europe, most current cultures would have been a better way of life. In summary, I enjoyed listening to this book but did not get any smarter in the process. No way I am going to pick the next in the series.
The butcher boy is an unforgettable character. There is something fascinating about assassin stories and here is one you can root for, albeit in a semi-guilty way. The book is well written, chilling and humorous at the same time, fast paced and original. I enjoyed each one in the series.
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