Review: The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl was an interesting story and the setting was fairly unique in my experience. It’s set in Thailand, in a dystopian-type future, featuring genetic manipulation and political maneuvering. There are four main point-of-view characters, each of which are mostly focused on their own concerns and are trying to achieve a goal that’s important to them, either for the betterment of themselves or for the betterment of a certain group of people.


The world-building was well done and I found the setting easy to visualize. The characters were believable and interesting, although I liked some more than others. There were a couple I liked for different reasons, one I really disliked, and one I couldn’t make up my mind about. Later on in the story, a previously-introduced character is elevated to the status of a point-of-view character. I liked that character pretty well also.


My interest fluctuated throughout the book, although it stayed consistently high during the middle. The story took a while to build up and then the later parts triggered my “too much chaos, just kill them all” reaction. I get that reaction sometimes when events in a story seem to have turned into such a huge unrecoverable mess that I just don’t care what happens anymore. I did actually like the way things turned out at the end of the book, though. It wasn’t a super happy ending, but I knew better than to expect one after reading the author’s anthology Pump Six and Other Stories last November.


A couple of the short stories in that anthology are set in this same world, before the events in this book. They aren’t at all necessary to read in order to enjoy The Windup Girl, but I think they did affect how I saw things while reading this book and added a little more depth.