**REVIEW** The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

(this is a review of the audio book)

“Vivid and Visceral!”

Aside from a few nitpicks, I have to say I really enjoyed this book.

The story is set in the MidWest, particularly the areas of Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV. It’s an undetermined period in the near future where water has become extremely scarce due to a superdrought in the Western part of USA. The author alludes to climate change being the culprit for this terrible drought that has caused millions to try to make their way out of Texas and Mexico in search of a better environment in Nevada, Cali, Oregon, etc.

The story alternates between three main characters: Angel, the “water-knife” of the title, who is more of an enforcer of who gets to keep their water flowing and who gets it turned off; Lucy, a “journo” who is a freelance reporter trying to figure out a way to help her city of Phoenix stay alive, and Maria, a young girl who dreams of making it to a better place than Phoenix, which Maria is convinced is all but dead.

Angel seemed to be, in my opinion, very similar to a cartel-type or mafia-type “lieutenant” who has a job to do and regardless of how messy or terrible that job might become, he’s still going to get it done. He’s the most intriguing character of the story and very well written.

The writing and superb use of dialogue between the characters is quite good at painting a vivid picture of this desperate world and the desperate people within it. The narrator also does an adequate job with the various characters.

The few knocks I have against the book overall is that the main character, Angel, seems somewhat cheapened in the story’s conclusion by decisions that he makes. I would have expected someone who is more hard-bitten and hard-boiled to be much more ruthless than he turned out to be. This seems to be more of the author wanting to make Angel into a hero than a realistic character in the environment of this world.

Also, the plot conveniences that allow certain characters to escape from near impossible, life-threatening situations gets to be a bit much.

Bottom line, this book was very entertaining, thought-provoking, and certainly recommended!