Ship Breaker starts, Fever Crumb continues

A colleague and I both read Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker last week. WOW! This speculative YA fiction was so good, I had to check out his adult fiction. Now that I'm almost done reading all his short stories and novels, I'm convinced he's the love child of Margaret Atwood and William Gibson. 

So rich in YA themes, where to start?
Nailer is not an orphan, but might as well be. His alcoholic father only notices him to beat him, and Nailer must work with a "crew" in dangerous conditions to make their quota of recyclable materials scavenged from old oil tankers run aground on their section of the Gulf Coast. As he works, Nailer questions himself on the meanings of family, loyalty, and luck. When he finds a wealthy girl trapped in the wreckage of her beautiful yacht, he faces the moral quandary of whether to let her die as he scavenges enough silver and gold from the ship to live without hunger, or to save her life and face possible danger and betrayal (and give up the scavenge rights).

His choice sets him on a lonely path, but gives him a chance to get to know Tool, a human/dog hybrid bred for loyalty and viciousness. More questions about the meaning of loyalty. And family. We can't wait for a sequel/prequel/companion novel.

The same weekend, I read Fever Crumb, the first of a series of prequels to Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines books. Fever is an orphan, raised by a loving foster father, to be an engineer like him. But she is cursed to live in interesting times in London, and witness to the origin of the "traction cities" of the Mortal Engines Quartet. Fever, like Nailer, must journey out into an unfamiliar world, and make judgments about who to trust and who to be loyal to, while surviving.

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