Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: Boneshaker


By:  Cherie Priest

Publisher:  Tor

Publish Date:  2009

Format:  Paperback, 414 pages

Genre:  Fiction, Steampunk

Series:  Stand-alone novel

Recommendation:  YES!!!!  To anyone who loves reading some action in a historically amazing twist of a setting.

Book Synopsis:
In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest.  Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska's ice.  Thus was Dr. Blue's Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city.  Just beyond it lives Blue's widow, Briar Wilkes.  Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenage boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing.  Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees.  And only Briar can bring him ou alive.

First Sentence:
She saw him, and she stopped a few feet from the stairs.

My Review and Synopsis:
The story starts right out with a bit of history, written by Hale Qaurter, of what happened to the city of Seattle in 1863.  Hale then tries to talk with Briar Wilkes, who will NOT share any part of her story with anyone - not even her own son.  Briar not only lost her husband, but her father as well when the city was evacuated from the blight gas spreading.  Both of these men play important parts in history and in the current.  The blight gas is gas released from in the earth, thanks to the Boneshakers test run, which caused the living to turn into the undead.  This story takes place sixteen years after ward, when the East coast is in a civil war and Washington wasn't even a state yet.

I loved the writting style in this book, because the story was constantly moving and you where always learning.  There are many things for now and the history of the city learned in the book, and they were very easily noticed as seperate times.  The current story along with the history was almost like two stories for me in one book.  I loved the creativeness in the story line and idea.

I have to admit I am not a person who really wants to read of zombies.  I don't know what it is about the decaying gray skinned dead humans trying to eat live human skin, but I just find them to turn my stomach.  But the undead in this book are not the main characters or problems.  And yes I said problem with an "s".  There are a few troubles to get through as the book goes on.

I loved the characters from the start of the story.  They are struggling to get by, and as many parents may experience no matter what year it is - the growing space between parent and child as they go through the teen years to become independant adults they are yet not quite ready for.  The relationship between Briar and her son is a great tie in the book and accented very nicely with the story.

This book and review qualify for two of my Challenges.
1.)  February Mini-Challenge New Authors: The League @ Literary Escapism
2.)  Speculative Fiction Challenge @ Book Chick City



  1. Thanks for the great review! I really need to make time to read this. It keeps staring up at me on my desk.

  2. Oh I have wanted to get this since I got an email from TOR when it came out. I love TOR books(Sanderson ;) lol! Great review I'll definitely add it to my book list!

  3. Great review! Priest is an excellent writer and her words just seem smooth and flowing. I also just read this book and really enjoyed it. I wish a bad guy at the end had more build up but I still liked this book and would recommend it. I think it would be good for someone who hasn't read steampunk before.

  4. Um, I've been going back and forth about this one. Might give it a try. Thanks for the terrific review!!

  5. I just won this book (signed no less) and now I really can't wait until I get my hands on it. Great review Melissa, as always.

  6. Oh come one Melissa, you keep making my To Read list expand! :D

  7. I had no idea what this book was about. It sounds really interesting! I think I'm going to have to read it now! Great review!

  8. Thanks for your views on this book. I've heard such a lot about it, all very mixed but with slightly more people disliking it than liking it.

  9. Zia - I hope you enjoy the story when you get to it.

    Krista - I hope you get to get it. I enjoyed it, its not our normal discussion books but was a great read. I have to say I love Tor as well! (Scholes too:))

    Ruthann - I am working my way through the posts of everyones in order, so I am hoping to get to your review today or this evening (depending on work here). I do agree this is a great steampunk for anyone not read it before. (Like me, :))

    Donna - Thanks for stopping by. If you give it a try I hope you enjoy it.

  10. Ryan - I hope you really enjoy it when you get it. Congrats on a wonderful win! Thanks for the complement. :)

    Seak - Sorry ;) I know the feeling of the ever expanding To Read List. Mine is to many pages long.

    Michelle - I hope I helped give you a good idea of the book. I hope you enjoy it if you get it.:) Thanks for the complement

    Petty Witter - I think I started blogging and following more people after the book came out and made its way around here. I may go back and see if I can read other reviews out of curiosity. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I've been going back and forth on this one, but after reading your review I think I need to get it:) I normally don't mind zombies but between watching Zombieland with my teens, and a couple of books I've been reading I am need some less gruesome supernatural beings. BAHAHAHAHAHA

  12. I've been looking at this one but wasn't sure if I'd like it. Thanks for the review. Sounds like something I should put on my wish list.

  13. I don't normally care for steampunk, but you make this one sound too interesting to pass up. Great review!

    I have an award for you, so stop by when you have a chance. :)

  14. I have to say that this is one of those books that the description just doesn't grab me but I want to read it anyways because I've been hearing such good things about it. I'm glad you liked it and I can't wait to read it myself.

  15. Moonsanity - I hope you enjoy the book if you get it. The zombies are on the calmer scale here in reference to story line and action.

    Melissa - If you get it I do hope you enjoy it. It seemed to be more of a family story in a paranormal world with zombies, gas, and steampunk mixed in.

    Alexia - I have a hard time defining steampunk. This has the steampunk feel with the air ships, the Boneshaker itself, and the guns, but they are not hard to understand - which was what I was worried about. The steampunk was easier for me to understand and visualize. I hope you enjoy it!

    Simcha - I do hope you enjoy it when you get it. Its not like some of the stories we read,like Sanderson, but it is done very nicely in its own.

  16. Just ordered this book the other day. I am curious how she describes my hometown after a tragedy. I am just getting into the Steampunk novels and what I have read so far has been a lot of fun.

    Great review and I look forward to comparing our thoughts on the book.

  17. Tyson - I hope you enjoy the book. I hope you enjoy the way she sets your hometown in the time and situation it is in. I have just started into Steampunk as well. This book being my first. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the book when you are done.

  18. This was the first book I read and reviewed for 2010, and I loved it, too. Great review. Priest also has a short novella taking place following the events of Boneshaker, if you're interested.

  19. Hi Logan! Thank you for stopping by. I came across after I posted this that she is doing 2 more books based on other characters. I am looking forward to these books too. I really did love this book too. Thank you for the complements.

  20. Just got the book, looking forward to reading it. nice review. Curious to see how my hometown fairs after the disaster.

    You may also want to check out Chris Wooding's Katy Jay series. Its a great way to enter steampunk.

  21. Tyson - Thank you for the complement. I hope you enjoy the book. I am looking forward to reading your review when you get done. I am going to look into the series you mentioned. I really enjoyed starting into Steampunk. Thanks for the suggestion!


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