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Book 102: "The Windup Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi

Title: The Windup Girl
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Format: ePub on Nook
Genre: Dystopian/Alternate Reality
Publisher: Night Shade Books

First review for a while, but since I finally finished my thesis I got to devour this book as every book deserves. I enjoyed this book. It was not life changing or amazing, but definitely enjoyable. I'll start with the downsides so we can end upbeat. But first, what the book is about:

Set in Thailand, mostly Bangkok, this book takes place somewhere in the future. Genetic engineering and disregard for our environment have led the world back towards days when travel is hard, energy limited, and most everything is done the hard way- by hand. In this world, food and energy are the most expensive items a person can buy. Plagues have wiped out both people and many of the world's plants and animals. The storyline follows several seperate characters who, invariably, meet or connect in some way throughout the book.

The downsides are:
The book was definitely a slow starter, I didn't really feel invested in any character or that the book was going anywher until about half-way almost a third of the way into the book. However that is pretty standard for a dystopia.

The second downside was that the theme was too blatant. It couldn't be ground into the reader more that our current practices are going to lead to nothing but bad results.

The upsides are:
Finally, an author that doesn't mind killing off main characters, I was beginning to believe these authors no longer existed. This is a book about what may happen if we continue to mercilessly use finite resources, gentically enhance ourselves, animals, and our food, and if we let corporations continue to run the inner workings of our country. People will die. The author makes this clear by killing off characters you have come to know and understand. This is also crucial because these characters are rooted and successful in the current regime...which as Dystopias generally make clear, is not beneficial to the world or its people. Their deaths make way for new paths and a new future for other characters and citizens. Bringing me to the next upside.

Most dystopias have a bang conclusion where everything changes or nothing does and the reader is still somehow left feeling unsure about what exactly is going to happen to the characters. This is generally an essential part of the dystopian feeling because it leaves the reader with a feeling of uncertainty that helps the theme and point of the book set in. This book has a conclusion. A happy one. I love it, while expecting the usual uncertainty I was left feeling that there is hope and that the characters of the book actually made a difference. Awesome and unexpected. A big plus.

That said, the book was enjoyable. I won't read it again, but I don't regret reading it. It was well-written and crafted. Overall a good read if you're looking for a less intense, non-teen, dystopia with some steampunk elements.


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