Tool of War Goes Beyond Expectations

Vanessa Anderson, Reporter

So many of his memories were fragmented, lost to wars and violence. His story was a kaleidoscope jumble of images and scents and roiling emotions, scattershot explosions of joy and terror, much of it blocked and inaccessible now. But this time—this one time—he wanted to secure the entirety of the moment permanently into his mind. To taste and smell and hear it. To let it fill him completely, straightening his spine, letting him stand tall. To let it fill his muscles with power. (Chapter 2)

Tool of War, the third installment of the Ship Breaker series, is set in a world which has been crafted by a master of dystopian and characters like you’ve never seen. Paolo Bacigalupi takes this series to a satisfying end with loyalty, self-reflection and humanity’s capabilities in the  face of danger.

           This is not a dystopian where the world is awful, but love still exists. This is not a story of honor and virtue. This is not a romance story. This is not a story where the main protagonist sets himself aflame to save the one he loves.

           This is a true dystopian, where the world is awful, and hatred, vengeance and fear thrive. This is a story of survival, not honor nor virtue. This world completely and utterly sucks, and everyone has their own method of survival.

           This is what makes this series a masterpiece. Bacigalupi wasn’t afraid to make his world one where children are made into soldiers and desperation leads to devastation. Mercier, a company set on killing their own creation, wreaks havoc, bombing an entire city to wipe out one man.

           Tool, the main protagonist, is an augment. In book terms, this means he’s half man and half animal. However, Tool seems far more animal than he is human. Augments are bred for loyalty. They are not bred by natural means, but rather, created. This makes ownership seem viable because these augments are humanity’s creation, and therefore, property.

           Unfortunately for humans, a general of Mercier named Caroa created his augments a little too well. One of them managed to break his innate loyalty, and is currently on the loose with a mind of his own. 

           Mahlia is a human girl whose loyalty is sworn to Tool. In return for this loyalty, Tool swears Mahila his protection, as without him, she would be dead. Their relationship is one of a kind. Tool’s loyalty to Mahlia is equal to her loyalty to him. They’re pack, and that means that when one falls, the other picks them up. This was proven time and time again in the previous book, and now in this book. Mahlia and Tool are incredibly similar. While one is animal and the other human, both know how to survive. Both believe the same methods of survival, and both know that survival is the only thing that matters. Their relationship is one I thoroughly enjoyed reading, both in Tool of War, and in the sequel of the series, The Drowned Cities.

           Tool of War exceeded my expectations. It’s fierce, unpredictable and well developed. I recommend it to anyone searching for a dystopian that doesn’t hold anything back, and give it five stars for an unforgettable story with unforgettable characters.


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