The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a fantasy novel that has won numerous prestigious awards like the Hugo and the Nebula, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. This book was brutal, and the only reason I actually finished it was because I was reading it for my book club.
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.
Now, I was the only person in my book club to actually finish the book – though one of us was almost done and was planning on finishing it. The other two had most definitely given up (at least for the foreseeable future). I would be proud that I had actually finished the book, but I haven’t read 2 other books for book club, so I’m still batting below average. Anyway, not the point. The point is this book.
The book starts off doing something that I completely hate – it drops you into the middle of a whole new world without any word of explanation and without attempting to explain anything. You have to figure it out as you go along, and in this case I feel like I missed out on some good story line because I didn’t understand what was happening, and because the author didn’t explain certain things – like how the world got to this point, how exactly did this world function, and essentially how did all of the pieces of this elaborate puzzle fit together?
The other problem with this book is that it (like bloody Games of Thrones, holy crap do I hate that book) introduced too many characters too quickly. Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective, which is fine, but because it rotated so much it took forever for you the reader to get invested in any character, and by the end of it all I was only invested in two – and even then, not overly.
So I’m now reading a book where I don’t understand much, and where I’m not really invested in any of the characters. Great times. The only thing that this book had going for it (in my opinion) is the main idea of the book that humanity has done this to itself. We didn’t care about the planet until it was too late. We thought we were gods and started gene ripping and splicing and the consequences was plagues and not enough food for the world. Greed screwed us. And let’s be honest greed is screwing the world we currently live in as well. That part of the book, the main idea of it was interesting and intriguing. The execution of that idea was brutal, horrendous and I longed for it to be over. The ending could not come soon enough.
And the ending – what bullshit. What random bullshit. It was not believable and was too heavy handed. The author definitely had a moment of “shit, I need these two people to meet, and I’m out of time…fuck it…they meet, the end.” *slams head on desk* BRUTAL.
This is not a book I enjoyed or liked. I would not recommend it and I have zero idea how it won any kind of awards. If you are one of those people who loved this book, for the love of God tell me how and why because I for the life of me cannot understand.