Tool of War

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

So grateful to read this one. Loved keeping up with the series.
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I've really enjoyed this series. The first book was still the best, but following the journey of Tool has also been a lot of fun. In this book, you're also introduced to Analyst Jones, who is a fairly complex character with interesting motivations. She doesn't quite hit the interest level of Nailer or Mahlia, but she is still well-written. I feel like this book wrapped up loose ends well and didn't lose my interest.
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TOOL OF WAR by Paolo Bacigalupi is the third book in the popular Ship Breaker series.

Set in a post-apocalyptic era, this novel focuses on a genetically engineered soldier called Tool. Told through the eyes of various new and old characters trying to survive in a worn-torn world, the story explores compelling issues related to humanity, slavery, and moral ambiguity.

Librarians will find this riveting series to be popular with fans of dystopian literature. Teens will be particularly drawn to the timely issues including climate change and bioengineering.

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group on October 10, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.
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I have loved the author's work since I first read The Ship Breaker. Totally something I'd recommend to my students.
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Tool may have been designed as a perfect killing machine, yet he has become more than the scientists could have planned.  He has shattered his programming and he now has a new pack.  This pack consists of human soldiers and they are willing to follow him anywhere.  Tool may be able to ignore his feelings of loyalty toward the gods from the sky, but he is still aware that someone is still after him.  Will Tool be able to take down the people who genetically enslaved him?  Is he all animal or is there a piece of humanity in him?

Tool of War is the third book in the Ship Breaker series.  Bacigalupi continues his saga of a world gone wrong and takes his characters to new depths with insights that are unexpected.  Since this is a continuation, it would not be as enjoyable without the backstory that comes with the first two books.  The story spirals toward a climax, yet the adventure is not over.  Tool of War is a page turner and will be a welcome read for most science fiction fans.
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This book picks up Tool's story a few years after the events in Drowned Cities.  Tool is different from other augments, in that he can think for himself and he doesn't have a master.  This book mostly covers why that is and it was quite a shocker when it is revealed.  Like the other books this one is brutally honest in it's depiction of war. There is a lot of death, sometimes on a vast scale, but mostly on a much deeper and personal level.  Most of the other characters are kids, some in their teens, but many much younger, who are forced to fight against more powerful and better equipped organizations.  

The story is mostly told through Tool's point of view, with other chapters told by characters from the first two books.  There is one new voice however that I really like.  Arial Jones is an analyst for one of the powerful organizations that rules this world.  She has been tasked with finding Tool for her boss General Caroa. She is a very interesting character that has a lot of conflicting feelings about what she has done.  She is the voice that shows us what war is like for those who fight it from a distance with drones and bombs and never really meet their enemy face to face.  She looks at what the bombs have done to the Drowned Cities and is very conflicted about what she has done and the devastating consequences of it. 

The thing I like most about these books is their realism.  There is always something in the back of my mind that thinks, this is what the world may become in the future when the oceans rise and the oil runs out.  It is also about science run amok, in the case of the augments and some of the other technologies.  It is a very bleak world that is depicted here, but there is some hope in the characters courage and determination to keep moving forward even against the toughest odds.  I hope to reread this series sometime in the near future, so that I can better appreciate the world and the characters that have been created.
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Always look forward to reading his books.  Appeals to strong, intelligent readers
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Bacigalupi finished the series with a good, solid book.  Tool is a great character and his strengths and weakness lead the reader through adventures from a different world.
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Another great outing by Paolo Bacigalupi featuring his most memorable character, the augment, Tool.  If you enjoyed Shipbreaker and Drowned Cities, don't miss this latest!
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This book was so good. Bacigalupi brings you right back into his world without missing a beat. The strength of his stories, to me, is their realism. They are not only emotionally true (and brutal in their truth), but they are also frighteningly and viscerally real. This dystopia is less stark fantasy than bleak possibility. You feel like it really could happen. But of course that’s in large part due to the fact that so many of his horrors are grounded in reality. There are child shipbreakers, child soldiers, slaves/classes both subservient and feared. Death via-drone does rain down, an unannounced and sudden calamity. (Some would argue corporate interests already control most of the world and drive much of our bloodshed.) The books in this series should be right up any socially conscious teen’s alley and are ripe for discussion.

As for Tool of War specifically, this book functions as a sequel to Ship Breaker and Drowned Cities and as the long awaited backstory of Tool, the autonomous man-beast hybrid and fearsome ally of the previous books’ protagonists. It is satisfying on both counts and more than met all of my expectations. It is an excellent read, replete with all of the tension and violence you’d expect of a man-made war beast’s struggle for survival, but also surprisingly heartening and certainly not without a sliver of hope. (Okay, there's a lot of gore and darkness, but there is some light. Think pack. Think kin. )

While the book does offer a bit of a recap of events from the series' previous entries (the good kind that actually fit the flow of the story and don’t feel like info dumps), and while the story is independent, it really won’t pack as much punch and could be a bit confusing for those who haven’t read the first two. So go ahead and read the entire series if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it. Bacigalupi is a master of his craft.
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