- Character building. All the main players in this book are fleshed out very well. They don't feel like cardboard cut-outs propped up by cliches, as is often the case when dealing with dystopian fiction. Each person is flawed in their own particular way, making them feel real and believable. This, more than anything else, made me want to keep turning pages.
- Villains. As mentioned previously, Bacigalupi does a fantastic job building wonderfully believable characters that are uniquely flawed with lots of depth. That being said, the villains in this book are wonderful. It has been a while since I read a book that had evil so well-constructed that, while reading, there were times I wanted to attack a pillow or other soft object to vent my frustration.
- World building. Ship breaker's dystopian world is similar to many other novels I've read recently. There have been natural disasters, consumption of many non-renewable resources, etc. Nothing new there really, but it is the way that the world is presented in such an effortless way that makes Ship Breaker unique. I loved Divergent by Veronica Roth, but there were times when reading it where I felt myself trying to recall what each faction stood for, what their values and rules were, on and on. To really understand what was going on there were a bunch of facts that needed to be committed to memory. Not so with Ship Breaker. While the scenery and motivations for actions are new to the reader, they don't feel forced and there was not any point during my reading where I felt like the world or a character's reactions to that world were confusing or unreasonable.
“Killing isn't free. It takes something out of you every time you do it. You get their life; they get a piece of your soul. It's always a trade.”