The Windup Girl

Nothing gets me more excited than rich world building, and there is nothing that Paolo Bacigalupi excels at more than that. As an aspiring writer myself it is always the first thing I look for, how developed and cohesive is the fiction world that the story is taking place in. The Windup Girl succeeded in immersing me in its miserable fictional Thailand, this being a more plausible future to me than the shiny chrome metallic future that many science fiction novels attempt to portray.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the world building and setting that Bacigalupi describes throughout the novel, the plot and structure of the novel were a complete turn off. Bacigalupi gives almost no backstory to the world, and regularly throws out terms and slang in this universe with no explanation as to their meaning. The novel is constantly switching viewpoints which make it difficult to follow along, let alone remember which character is which. The characters are well developed once you can identify them, but more often than not despicable and almost impossible to root for. Emiko, who should have been the most sympathetic character, even has her horrible moments regardless of being the only character that I would consider being “good natured”. I normally love a far out dystopian future but this book was unable to capture my attention and was a drag to get through. To me this book would take multiple read throughs to fully grasp all of the themes and nuance that Bacigalupi has put into this world, but there is no chance I will ever attempt to read this again. I pride myself on my ability to give any genre or story a chance, not being picky in my tastes, but this book starts off on the wrong foot and never made it back to my good side.

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