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8.22.2011

Review: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi




PJ's QUICKIE POV:

I have never experienced such gritty and descriptive world-building as I have with Paolo Bacigalupi’s THE WINDUP GIRL. You could almost taste the heat as Bacigalupi described the post-apocalyptic Asian landscape. Bacigalupi has a way of blending realities, the dystopian squalor with the science fiction advancement, the way you didn’t know who was a good guy or a bad guy and the on-your-toes plot twists that had my head whirling. THE WINDUP GIRL. is a grown-up dystopian and a must-read if you fancy yourself a fan of the genre. I have to say this has to be one of the finest modern science fiction novels I've read.

REVIEW:

The lands have been racked with bio-engineered diseases and horrendous natural disasters. Bangkok is a city on the verge of disaster, exploited and two feet from being overrun by the ocean. The people live in fear of infected foods and the calorie is the new currency. Anderson Lake, one of the hated “calorie men” from the West is in Bangkok in search of extinct food to use for profit for his company AgriGen. He uses an AgriGen factory as a front, but his real motives is to find lost foods that he believes Bangkok might have.


In a backdoor meeting with an unsavory brothel owner he is introduced to Emiko. THE WINDUP GIRL. Emiko is a bio-engineered “New Person.” She was grown in a crèche in Japan, created to become the plaything of rich Japanese businessmen. She is bred to serve, for her beauty and her uniqueness. Most humans distrust her, thinking she is soulless. When her master grew tired of her he abandoned her in a city that deems her illegal. Her new master is harsh and abusive but there is no other way to survive, especially when her every movement is a sign that she is New People. As the city goes mad, enraged from corruption and political maneuvering, Emiko only wants one thing…to be free. Because even though she is New People, she still wants.


Bacigalupi has to have one of the most unique voices that I’ve experienced in an author. His blending of the Asian culture with this gritty dystopian was something that I’ve never experienced before and probably never will. You could practically smell, touch and taste his descriptions. I can only compare THE WINDUP GIRL with the greats, such as BRAVE NEW WORLD or 1984. The only down points I found in this novel was the almost abstract broadness of the writing. Bacigalupi plunges you in head first with very little explanation of back-story on most of the plot-lines so I found myself feeling that I missed something. Also, because of the Asian names it was sometimes hard to keep track of the multitude of characters. This worked for me as an audio book and the narrator Jonathan Davis handled pronunciation quite well. This is one book that I would highly recommend in audio format.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

Highly recommended for fans of the dystopian genre. If you’ve read and enjoyed a BRAVE NEW WORLD or 1984 and would like a grittier meal, give this one a try. This is an adult novel and has a multitude of heavy themes, rape, violence, sex and debauchery. For mature audiences only.








Audiobook


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  2. Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson





23 comments:

Book Lover said...

Great review! I actually have this book sitting on my shelf and have yet to read it! I'm more exciting about it now though!

I'm a new follower and I wanted to drop by and say hi! I'd love it if you could check out my blog? Literary Exploration Thanks, and looking forward to more reviews!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I MUST read this. Thanks for letting me know it's as good as I was hoping for.

Laura (All of Everything) said...

You should totally read his book Ship Breaker if you haven't yet. It was fantastic. It and Windup Girl sound like they have similar ideas so I definitely want to read it!

Book Lover said...

I started reading Shipbreaker but had to return it to the library! It was sooo good though!! Agreed.

Penelope Plessas said...

hi! i love ur blog! im following now :)

http://penelopeworldpfbooks.blogspot.com

ParaJunkee said...

@Book Lover - It is definitely a good read and I ran over and checked out your blog! (Latest follower)

@Juju - It was as good as all the hype.

@Laura - I did read Ship Breaker, that review will go up tomorrow. I think they are in the same world, different parts, but same basis.

@Book Lover - Go get it back!

@Penolope - Thanks!

Alana said...

brave new world is my favourite book of all time! as if my to-be-read list wasnt big enough :P

SweetestLittleBookworm said...

I love Paolo Bacigalupi. I have this one but I haven't read it yet. I've been SO SO SO excited to read it, but I haven't had a break in my review schedule since I got it. I'm so excited to see that you enjoyed it so much, because it makes me anticipate it even more, if that is possible. :)

~Asheley

Cristina said...

Great review.. I really enjoyed it as well and I don't usually read adult sci-fi/dystopian. He is an amazing writer for sure.

gie said...

oohh.. I've seen this once in a review but was a little hesitant in trying the book as it is dystopian (I easily get dizzy in reading dystopians so as much as possible I stay away from them. lol) but my interest was piqued then. Your review shoved me a little closer though, so I think I am going to give this a try. thanks! :)

Lily Child said...

Awesome review! I've been wanting to read Ship Breaker for a while now, but have been on the edge. I will definitely move it up on my tbr after reading your review of Wind Up Girl! :)

fairypenguin said...

Awesome review! You have me convinces, this is absolutely going on my wishlist.

karen! said...

Thanks for sharing your review. I've been wanting to read this one.

Kah Woei said...

I've heard good things about this one but I'm not sure if its the one for me, especially since you're comparing it to Brave New World ... I didn't like the book much when I read it before once long ago :-)

kaye (paper reader) said...

This has been on my TBR for far too long and now I'm finally going to bite the bullet and buy it. Brave New World is my bar for dystopian novels - and is my favorite book - and so now I have to know more. I've his book Ship Breaker which I've also heard amazing things about. I can't wait to read them both.

Selina said...

I haven't read The Windup Girl but I read Shipbreaker a few months ago. I heard so many amazing things about this author that I had super high expectations and although I liked Shipbreaker (mostly for the world building) and thought it was original I did not love it.
I loved your review so I will give Bacigalupi another shot and I hope his adult dystopian fiction will blow me away :)

Smash Attack! said...

I LOVE Asian cultures, and I LOVE dystopian books. This one is a must for me. Thanks for the great review and bringing it to my attention!

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

I saw this at a book store when I was out of the country and I thought to myself: I NEED to read this. I thought his YA dystopian was just okay, but this sounded like the grown up version of it. I really did love his world building so I think I'll enjoy this one a lot! Thanks for the review.

Rain Maiden said...

I'll be adding this one and Ship Breaker to my wish list. Great post!

leeswammes said...

I was wondering whether it really was that good, but as one of the winners of your last year's dystopian challenge, I am now convinced that this is one I should read.

I actually reviewed Robopocalypse today. It was good, but not as good as I'd hoped: http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/book-review-robopocalypse-by-daniel-wilson/

Bibliotropic said...

I really enjoyed reading this one. You're right, the world-building was amazing, and Bacigalupi's talent was evident in the tiny little details that he put in, things that could have been overlooked or glossed over but WEREN'T.

Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

Crap. I thought this was a lovable tale about some kids and their pet elephant.

Ashley said...

I read Shipbreaker and really enjoyed it. I thought he had some really interesting points and the book itself was kinda- wow, although I do think I'll like it better on the reread.

I haven't heard anything about titles in his backlist though and this one sounds intensely amazing. I'm definitely going to have to check it out!

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