I found this book to be a bit of a mixed bag. The world it's set in is well thought out, and is well realised. It's a dystopian future with large corporations running most of the food (and other) production. The Kingdom of Thailand is different, trying to balance what it can gain from these corporations, while also trying to maintain their independence. The setting provides a lot of colour, and for me was the best aspect of the book.
The plot is one of political intrigue, some moves with guile, others with violence. This felt a bit muddled to me, and the ending in particular felt too abrupt. There's a number of threads which weave between each other, and while many were resolved, overall I was unsatisfied with the conclusion. It's a very bleak world, and the plot follows that theme.
The story was adequately supported by its cast. There's a good breadth of people, each are well realised and contribute something different to the story. They also reflect the dark nature of the setting, and for the most part aren't very likeable. If you're easily offended by sex scenes then you might want to give this a miss - as with the rest of the book, it's pretty brutal.
The writing itself is good, combined with the rich setting did enough to keep me reading. However it felt lacking by the end. An interesting read, but not quite enough to recommend.
Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...
Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.
What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.
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