I have been waiting to read something new from Cherie Priest for some time. When I saw Boneshaker out on the shelves and read the premise of it I had to get it. It was a good buy. I really enjoyed the book, the plot, the world, the characters, all of it. This is the first of three planned books to take place in the Clockwork Universe. The books are supposed to be unrelated stories set in the same universe.
Lecviticus Blue won a contest to drill for gold in the Klondike with his invention the Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine. Only problem was that on the first trial something went extremely wrong. The Drill ripped apart Seattle and released the Blight; a poisonous gas that turned many of the residents of Seattle into walking zombies that love to feast on raw flesh. A wall was built to contain the Blight. Briar Wilkes is Blue’s widow and lives outside the Wall; she is eking out a living raising her son and daily deals with the hate of her fellow humans for the actions of her husband. Her son Zeke is determined to prove that his father was not a bad man so he sneaks back into the Blight filled city to find evidence. While he is there things go wrong and now Briar must enter the city of her childhood and face all of the horrors there if she is ever going to rescue her son.
This was a great book. I mean it had zombies, so that’s pretty cool right there. It also had airships, lots of shotguns, non-stop action, beautiful descriptions, and a wonderful cast of characters. It shows how both a mother’s love and humanity’s penchant for survival can go against all odds.
You have to love Briar as a character, she has her flaws, but she is one resourceful mother and will stop at nothing to get back her son. Zeke is an awesome character too. Priest captured the family dynamics really well. All of the side characters were fascinating and interesting too.
The action is non-stop with danger lurking around literally every corner. The descriptions of the various steampunk machinery are wonderful and well-done. This is steampunk adventure at its best. I think just about everyone will find this book a fascinating read. It could also be read to young adults, maybe not younger kids though; it gets pretty scary and there are quite a bit of rather violent fighting scenes.
The aesthetics of the book also bear mentioning. This was the first book I have ever read that is on an deep off-white paper with the words printed in a deep rust color; it does a good job of setting the mood of the story. I was worried that the lower contrast would make it hard to read; but it didn’t, just lent the book a very, well, steampunk feeling!