Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

I came to this touted in the steampunk genre, with some unease. I didn't quite understand the concept of zombies in the steampunk world, and I have to admit it started off slow for me, being more a history than a character opening. But once I plowed through, I found it to be  a very enjoyable read for a number of reasons. Once Cherie introduced us to her characters, especially Briar (Blue) Wilkes and her son, Zeke, I too felt as though I joined them on their rather difficult, fast-paced journey.  The destroyed cut off part of Seattle made for a highly interesting locale bringing back my love for fallen cultures and the people who can survive there. The technology was plausible and varied, but not so heavy handed that it detracted form the pace or the interactions of the characters and there were enough plot twists to keep us hanging by our fingernails - often, over and over, up the ladders, down the ladders,m through the tunnels, on the rooftops. I was worn out after some of my marathon reading sessions, just by the workouts the varied cast of characters endured.But it was worth the trek, that's for sure. Within the pages, you'll find all the steampunk elements: airships and sky pirates, a dystopian society and mad scientists, but you'll also find new combinations of these elements with American West coast alternate history and multiculturalism.

And I didn't even mind the zombies - thanks to the fact, she never called them zombies and she had a perfectly plausible reason for why they were there.  Granted I skipped over some paragraphs where detailed descriptions of battles with the undead ensued, but the story was riveting enough to keep me going despite my discomfort.  I am more squeamish than most.  What was even better is that I was able to find this novel at my local library and read it on spec before I decided to purchase it.  And now reading it, lets me know I would like to own a copy and I see why it has received so much praise and attention. Now I'm looking forward to Dreadnaught.

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Comment by dave bartram on August 2, 2011 at 5:42am
'relegated to'? Don't like the sound of that much.
Comment by Gail Gray on August 2, 2011 at 4:57pm
Dave - You are so right, I agree - relegated was not the right word for that sentence. I was trying to find a word that indicated the novel might have been placed in another genre such as urban dark fantasy or horror or even paranormal rather than steampunk due to the undead factor. I am glad it was listed as a steampunk novel because I found it quicker than I might have. I'll have to come up with a more accurate word to replace "relegated." Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Comment by Claire E. Smith on August 11, 2011 at 3:33pm

Thanks for posting this. I've been very curious about this book, but I dread zombies - having a fear of being eaten they're not exactly my taste in fantasy. Sounds like though, you'd still recommend it even with the zombies.

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