Customer Reviews: Dreadnought (The Clockwork Century)
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Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on July 14, 2015
This author has fast become a favorite of mine. Her stories are riveting, and at times deeply disturbing. I haven't been able to put down her books once begun, no matter how I try to tear myself away. The characters are so well defined, the prose is fluid and lilting like a song, and the world she has built here is intricate, with descriptions and atmosphere that closes around readers like a thick fog. This is part of a series, but is so far removed initially, that it stands well on its own. Bravo!
If you like steampunk, historical fantasy, and horror then please read these with relish! Highly recommended!
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on August 25, 2013
Cherie Priest drags you down to her world of airships and amazing "engines" with ease and makes you want to stay there! Amazing adventure and beautifully linked to the previous books (not required for each particular story, but it adds more awesomeness if you read them). Totally recommended!
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on March 20, 2011
Everything that made Boneshaker such a great read -- intriguing setting, multiple storylines, engaging characters -- is weaved seamlessly into Dreadnought, but this time Cherie Priest takes her lead character, nurse Vinita "Mercy" Lynch, on an intense, cross-country journey that methodically reveals the much bigger canvas that is The Clockwork Century. And what a journey it is!

Starting in Richmond, VA, the opening two chapters are as emotionally engaging as the first 10 minutes of Pixar's UP, introducing Mercy and her connection to Boneshaker, setting the stage for the adventures to follow, and quickly establishing her as another strong heroine who can stand alongside Briar Wilkes, Lucy O'Gunning and Miss Angeline. In some ways it's even more character-driven than Boneshaker as the overt steampunk elements are more deeply infused this time around, without ever fading so much as to be simple window dressing. It's a case study in balancing compelling world-building with strong characters and underlying themes, all in the service of telling an engaging story.

I'm looking forward to even more stories in this setting, and I hope someone is working with Priest to expand it beyond books because The Clockwork Century is absolutely overflowing with transmedia potential. Hell, I'd like to LIVE there, but I'd settle for an RPG, some comics and short stories, and a good HBO series.

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on October 18, 2013
My son is NOT a reader. He is NOT a bookworm. But I have to say that he finished this book (and the previous one in the series) within a week or two of picking it up. He loves the premise of the storyline and I think he's a closet steampunk. I give kudos to the author for capturing the attention of my son and giving him the pleasure of reading!
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on August 21, 2011
Cherie Priest repeats the recipe that made her first book such a success: take one surprisingly three-dimensional female protagonist with a history of tragedy, mix with equal parts dark zombie adventure and swashbuckling fun, soak in contemporary steampunk aesthetics. It's a strange mixture, but one that works quite nicely. This time, though, Priest switches out the cramped, monochrome confines of her first novel for a rich, varied journey through an America almost folding under the weight of a too-long Civil War. Add in a cross-country trip, a Texas Lawman, simmering regional bitterness on a Union-operated train, and both Union and Confederate superweapons, and you've got a novel worthy of both the pulp-adventure sentiment and surprisingly nuanced texture promised by the magnificent front-cover painting.
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VINE VOICEon April 1, 2013
This is the second book in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series, set in an alternative 1800 world of steampunk, airship pirates, zombies and wild inventions. Like the first book, Boneshaker, this book features a strong female protagonist that I immediately took to.

Mercy Lynch, a nurse in a Confederate hospital, gets word that her soldier husband has died at almost the same moment that she gets a message that her long vanished father is very ill and wants to see her- in Seattle. She surprises herself by making the decision to go and visit him, a trip that, given the war, isn't easy. Her trip across the continent by airship, steamboat, and train - no regular train- is a wild adventure full of disagreeing Confederates, Union soldiers, Texians, missing Mexican troops, zombies, gold, and a mad scientist. Mercy is a tough woman, though, and deals with it all with courage and inventiveness, her nurse's training standing her in good stead what with the bullets flying almost constantly.

One of the things I love about this book, and Boneshaker, is that the protagonist is not just strong, but that she is not a stunning beauty that men fall instantly in love with. In fact, there is no romance in the books. Nor are they genius inventors; they are average women doing what needs to be done. One can identify with them easier than with some fantasy women- or at least I can!

The universe that Priest has built for this series holds together well. Dreadnought is a can't-put-it-down, fast read that is full of action and has just enough creepiness- not enough to slow the story down, but enough to ratchet the anxiety level way up.
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on March 6, 2014
. . . than an alternative-Civil-War-history, steampunk, zombie-infested romp with a strong female lead? Seriously, I knew when I read the first page quoting Louise May Alcott, "filed under be careful what you wish for," that I was going to enjoy this thoroughly. There are references to real historical figures, caricatures of your favorite "Old West" badboys, enormous walking robots, and more than one nod to China Mieville's and Felix Gilman's demonic engines. Oh, and a believable etiology for zombies that doesn't involve viruses, parasites, or other biologicals for a change. I agree that steampunking the 19th century and infusing said arcana with anthropomorphic qualities is a niche interest; but given the sheer amount of terrible wandering existential fiction without heroes or fabulous journeys that you can buy today, why not gleefully indulge? Part of Ms. Priest's appeal is that she's not writing the same old literature about nothing in particular; she's writing well-crafted fantasy that you've never read before. So start.
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on May 30, 2016
A very entertaining read, I love the setting, characters and how the plot unfolds. I also want to plug an anime called KABANERI OF THE IRON FORTRESS(Subbed) which also involves zombies and war trains.
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on January 9, 2012
As is my habit, when I enjoy a book I go looking for more by the same author. Such was the case when I picked up Dreadnought

The story is about Vinita Lynch (also called Mercy) as she travels across most of North America to see her dying father one last time. However, the US Civil war has been dragging on between the North and the South. Texas is an independent republic. Naturally, this makes long distance travel rather interesting for a Confederate nurse. Whose husband fought for the North. And who hasn't seen or heard from her father out in the Western Territories for a decade until now.

I loved this book. I liked the travel aspect during a time of crisis to better illustrate the differences between the various factions and how suspicious of each other they all were. It seemed a bit similar to Murder on the Orient Express with all the intrigue regarding everyone's motives and more interestingly, what was actually on the first and last cars of the train. As far as world building went, I thought it a nice way to sketch out broader conflicts through individuals and the reactions of other people to them. The setup looks like one that stands just on the brink of a world war sprouting off of the American Civil War. Particularly if said civil war is using both steam and diesel technology in its engines of war.

Dreadnought is peripherally related to the previous novel, Boneshaker, but more in that they take place in a sequential time frame and there are a few characters slightly shared between them. Where Boneshaker is primarily focused on a single location and the inhabitants therein, the wider political picture is of greater narrative importance in Dreadnought, particularly in how the characters see and interact with each other. The wide geographic expanse that the book covers through that narrative made it an excellent platform for social world building. I liked the expansion and the episodic nature of the storytelling. Sometimes one gets the impression that everything must come as a trilogy, which is something of a pain in the rear when one would like a complete story between the pages of one book.

Regarding the politics, it was really interesting to see how Mercy's profession as a nurse trumped any and all questions about her politics for a lot of the other characters. In addition, the profession and state/country of origin first impression dynamics were pretty pronounced. Nearly all of the characters had a point in time where they had to revise a first impression, a revelation that extended to more than a few of my own first impressions of the characters. I loved how the passengers on the train blossomed for better or for worse as the narrative moved.

The book reads primarily like a travelogue where a lot of crap happens on the way. In rare quiet moments, Mercy muses about the people around her, where she's going and why... all the stuff one thinks of when traveling alone and stuck on a bus or a train for an extended period of time. In that context, Mercy made sense to me. The journey across the country seems very much like an attempt to unwind and recover from looking at the really messy, ugly and painful side of a war that's been going on for most of a generation in the narrative universe. Mercy seemed very much the product of her time period, a little lost yet polite when nothing in particular was going on, practical and focused when the situation becomes dire. In short, my great grand mothers would approve of her as heartily as I do.

This novel is entirely different from the previous and yet I still love it. I love how the politics are integrated into the story. I love how it discreetly bridges the gap between the books. I enjoyed the means of travel to further flesh out Mercy's world and I cannot wait to get my hands on Cherie Priest's next steampunk book.
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on February 4, 2013
Ms. Priest has somehow managed to outdo herself in this next installment of her rightfully-acclaimed steampunk novels.

In this book we get a fascinating look at life as it goes on outside of the dank shores of Puget Sound; we follow along from an army hospital for Confederate soldiers to the front lines of the seemingly endless Civil War and all the way up into the frozen passes of the Rocky Mountains which are filled with a dark shadow all their own.
Characters, many new and a few old will capture the attention and become favorite traveling companions throughout this fast paced, spine chilling trip-turned-race across the country.

The Tacoma train depot can’t come fast enough for Mercy Lynch but it’ll be all too soon for those brave enough to buy a ticket and jump aboard the Dreadnought for the literary ride of a lifetime!
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