(3 / 5) – It’s Okay
I am a lover of all things science fiction and when new books come out that are award winning, I am quick to pick them up and give them a try. Earlier this year I visited a science fiction themed book store in Minneapolis and found myself purchasing Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl.” With a Hugo & Nebula, set in Thailand and imagining a speculatively possible world, it had the potential to not only intrigue me, but be in the running for my 2023 favorite sci-fi read.
I enjoyed this novel a great deal. Bacigalupi does an incredible job of world building and weaving characters’ internal struggles with external motivations and circumstances. The political, military, social and technological intrigues and dramas were well crafted and not obvious from my point of view as a reader. The first two thirds of this book had me hooked.
In my opinion, Bacigalupi perhaps bit off more than he could chew in one novel. The last third of the novel struggled to “tie-up” the first two thirds. The pacing felt off and more of a dash to the end after a slow burn and intentionally paced build up. The book comes in just under 400 pages, so perhaps that was a means to an end, but I was left disengaged from the characters I had invested in during the first two thirds by the end. It all just felt overworked and disengaging.
With that said, I would still recommend the book. I plan on keeping it on my shelf and reading it again and I think the world itself and the core of the characters leave much to be admired and appreciated. If you enjoy science fiction and unique world building that borders on the speculative, give this award winning novel a shot and you might find that it is your new favorite.