Overall Impression: ***
Short synopsis (Goodreads): Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.
My Review: To be honest, I liked this book. But I had been expecting more. It was decent, but since I was looking forward to something epic, I was a little disappointed. It had good world building, interesting characters, and the storyline drove me to the end (though it's not really, there will be more in the series, but the main threads ended nicely in this book). I liked it, I really did and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I may even pick up Paolo's other book, The Windup Girl (really like the cover).
What I didn't like about this book was all of the building up that everyone gave. I was expecting something really complicated, and I'm not saying that it doesn't have complicated elements, it just wasn't as complex as I thought it be. You should still read it, but measure your expections, just a wee bit.