Full disclosure: I think I pulled the trigger on this purchase a long time ago after someone suggested Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It might have been a dumb mistake, but I wasn't going to let it go to waste.And then, it wasn't really a dumb mistake because it wasn't a bad book.Bacigalupi (owner of an awesome last name) elegantly presents a full multidimensional dystopic vision. Rather than resorting to a horrible preface to set the scene, the setting of the novel is presented gradually over the first third of the story through the memories and conversations of characters. It's subtly accomplished and satisfying and realistic.The author also sets a nice pace with plenty of action, plenty of scheming, logical motivations and structures for the plot. It moves quickly and never seems fantastic. My willingness to believe was never strained.Where The Windup Girl misses, however, is a pretty big deal. I didn't care for, nor connect with, any of these characters. I'm not sure who I was intended to grasp onto as my surrogate or guide in this story. Bacigalupi comes pretty close to making the novel work despite this deficiency, but leaves me just short of the connection I need.