In November, Sarah reviewed Drowned Cities, from her admittedly biased perspective.
At the time, she praised the thematic depth: “It … explores what it means to be human, our inescapable need to create packs — and why we have to leave them. Bacigalupi scrutinizes humanity’s tendency to act monstrously, our insistence that we are civilized even when the evidence shows otherwise… Our identities are stories we tell ourselves to explain the situations we find ourselves in.”
She also praised the characterization and world building — although at least one comment raised the question of whether the world building here stands up without prior knowledge of the world (which Sarah’s repeated reads of Ship Breaker would have provided) — the powerful metaphors that work themselves into the narrative, and the careful pacing.
She mentioned a few issues with the book: some less than perfect characterization/weak dialog and weak moments in the plot. And, per the comments, an ending that is too hopeful.
A couple months have passed (and the book has been out since May), so we’ve all had a little time to sit with it. Since it’s a title on our Pyrite* short list, we need to consider: do these flaws knock Drowned Cities out of contention? Or will its strengths carry it through? Questions, questions. Let’s start answering them in the comments!
*The Pyrite Printz, or Pyrite, is the Someday My Printz Will Come mock Printz deliberation, and should not in any way be confused with YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award, often referred to here as the RealPrintz or Printz. Our predictions, conversations, and speculation about potential RealPrintz contenders and winners reflect only our own best guesses and are not affiliated with YALSA or the RealPrintz committee.