The Windup Girl

Paolo Bacigalupi
The Windup Girl Cover

Imaginative, Character-based, and Gripping

Birgitte SB

The world is gripping, foreign, and all too believable. It is unclear the exact chain of events that led to the Contraction. But it seems clear that biological warfare was raised to a whole new level once fields were uniformly planted with patented hybrids. The arms races between engineered pests and engineered crops may be neck and neck, but for the naturals it has meant utter decimation. Far removed from power-centers like Des Moines, the Kingdom of Thailand has managed to survive on it's own terms and better than most. Now with better spring-kinks and faster clipper ships a new Expansion seems on horizon and the Thai's cannot maintain isolation forever. Especially when they have something the calorie men want so badly.

Despite the title, this is not Emiko's story. With a rotating over-the-shoulder narration I was left without any Home Team to root for. As the action builds all I had to hope for is that they all might find away to get along. Bacigalupi falls a bit too much in love with characters, and I did too. They are beautifully diverse and faceted. But he should have had a stronger stomach and made more of an effort to shown them at their worst instead of always switching to the weaker character in confrontations. What was really missing from solidifying this beautiful story was some focus. The ambivalence on characters was lovely but there needed to something to give a stronger sense of ending.