Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Report Monday: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Title: Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1)

Author: Cherie Priest

Genre: Steampunk

Synopsis: Cherie Priest's much-anticipated steampunk debut has finally arrived in the form of a paperback original. Its plot features the sort of calibrated suspense that readers of her Four and Twenty Blackbirds would expect. Boneshaker derives its title from the Bone-Shaking Drill Engine, a device designed to give Russian prospectors a leg up in the race for Klondike gold. Unfortunately, there was one hitch: On its trial run, the Boneshaker went haywire and, long story short, turned much of Seattle into a city of the dead. Now, 16 years later, a teenage boy decides to find out what is behind that mysterious wall. Can his mother save him in time? Zombie lit of the first order. (from Goodreads)

Why did I pick it up?: A friend who is a steampunk fan passed the book along to me. Oh and there are zombies.

My review: Really this is a Steampunk-Zombie mashup, but I need to stop inventing genres when I post my reviews.

When a test run for a new drilling machine goes awry much of Seattle is damaged but even more harmful is the noxious yellow gas that begins seeping up from the ground at the site where the Boneshaker drilled. The thick gas called "Blight" is worse than deadly as it first kills and then turns its victims into zombies. I was grateful to have an explanation for the zombie outbreak. It made for an interesting twist since there are two ways the characters could be turned into the undead. They could be bitten or they could breathe in too much of the Blight that has filled the walled up city.

Briar Wilkes risks her life when she enters the zombie-packed city in search of her son, Zeke. There are also dastardly villains, henchman, a wild west style saloon, unlikely heroes and airship pirates.

I enjoyed seeing how people survived within the remains of Seattle. Primarily living underground and maintaining pockets of fresh air where they could breathe freely without the use of masks. The story is divided between Zeke and Briar, which makes for a lot of suspense as you know how close or far they are from finding one another making it hard to put the book down.

Priest's zombies were pretty fast moving and able to climb which confused me at first. But even the characters who had been living in Seattle for the last 16 years seemed surprised at their speed. I think it has something to do with the concentration of the Blight which continues to fill the city. I hope this gets addressed in a later book in the Clockwork Century series.
One thing that got me hooked right away were the names. Leviticus Blue, Jeremiah Swakhammer, and Alistair Mayhem Osterude are just a few that I loved. Fortunately Priest's characters have personalities that live up to their names.

Recommendation: This was my first foray into the Steampunk Genre and I loved it. So I would suggest this for anyone looking to try out Steampunk or anyone who already loves steampunk and/or zombie fiction.

Next Week: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan


Post a Comment