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Boneshaker Paperback – September 29, 2009
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Maternal love faces formidable challenges in this stellar steampunk tale. In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for destroying Civil War–era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue's son, goes into the walled wreck of a city to clear his father's name, Zeke's mother, Briar Wilkes, follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail). When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father. Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Cherie Priest wove a story so convincing, so evocative, so terrifying that I read this book with the doors locked and a gun on my lap. Boneshaker is a steampunk menagerie of thrills and horror.” ―Mario Acevedo, bestselling author of Jailbait Zombie
“This exquisitely imaginative steampunk adventure is a joy to read! My favourite of Cherie's books.” ―Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments trilogy
“Everything you'd want in such a volume and much more.... It's full of buckle and has swash to spare, and the characters are likable and the prose is fun. This is a hoot from start to finish, pure mad adventure.” ―Cory Doctorow, bestselling author of Little Brother
“Boneshaker is without a doubt Cherie Priest's breakthrough work: this hollering, stamping, crackling thing is the best fun you'll have with a book all year.” ―Warren Ellis, bestselling author of Crooked Little Vein
“A gorgeously grim world of deadly gasses, mysterious machines, zeppelin pirates, and a relentless plague of zombies. With Boneshaker, Priest is geared up to begin her reign as the Queen of Steampunk.” ―Mark Henry, Author of Road Trip of the Living Dead
“A rip-snorting adventure in the best tradition of a penny dreadful. Priest has crafted a novel of exquisite prose and thrilling twists, populated by folk heroes and dastardly villains, zombies and air pirates, incredible machines and a heroine who'll have you cheering. Boneshaker is the definitive steampunk story, absolutely unique and one hell of a fun read.” ―Caitlin Kittredge, author of the Nocturne City novels
“A marvelous book, crammed with readerly pleasures--zombies, pirates, cracking adventures, historical conceits and characters that make you wish you could linger inside it long after turning the final page. Cherie Priest is one of my favorite fantasists.” ―Kelly Link, acclaimed author of Magic for Beginners
“If Jules Verne and George Romero got together to rewrite American history it might go something like this. I loved it. I want more.” ―Mike Mignola, bestselling author of Hellboy
“If the Wild Wild West had been written by Mark Twain with the assistance of Jules Verne and Bram Stoker, it still couldn't be as fabulous and fantastical as Boneshaker. Cherie Priest has penned a rousing adventure tale that breathes a roaring soul and thundering heart into the glittering skin of Steampunk. Stylish, taut, and wonderful, it's a literary ride you must not miss!” ―Kat Richardson, bestselling author of Greywalker
“A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace and sweeping proportions, full of wonderfully gnarly details. This book is made of irresistible…. It totally pushed all my buttons.” ―Scott Westerfeld, bestselling author of Uglies and Peeps
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The book does have great atmosphere and an excellent plot twist at the end. The gadgets fit in well without seeming out of place and the alternative take on the Civil War is interesting. All in all, I found the book to be a mixed bag of a Steampunk novel.
The story feels tried and true, but not cliche. It could easily be tweaked into a western or noir setting and still feel well placed. The world is interesting for the most part. Having no prior experience with the Steampunk setting, this reader did not feel put off by the fantastical difference between this world and our own.
The cast of characters is diverse. Not just ethnicity but temperament of the world's inhabitants make the story feel colorful and engaging. Every main character, and most supporting characters, feels unique onto itself, and fully part of the world Priest has created.
An enjoyable read and looking forward to continuing the series.
The main villain turns out to be a lot less threatening that he's been built up to be, and the writing style is very aggravating.
After the first 50 pages, where any time a character is introduced we are given a tremendously laborious infodump on every detail of their appearance, I thought things would get better, but the author's tendency to over-describe and under-characterize left the experience tedious and difficult to manage. Meanwhile, the "zombie" threat lost most of its potency toward the middle of the book and my main reason for continuing was interest in the mystery built up around the main villain. If not for this mystery, I would have put the book down and I wish I had. Partway through, it becomes clear that the original MacGuffin that drew the main characters into the zombified part of town is a total joke and in fact one character knew the answer all along, and could've just told her son about it rather than allowing him to continue risking his life to solve a total non-mystery. For someone who supposedly cares so much about her son, this seems very proud and out of character.
There are a lot of features of the world that don't make tons of sense, either, but I don't really want to belabor each and every one. Suffice it to say that my suspension of disbelief was difficult to maintain.
Added to the fact that most of the supporting characters are stock cutout types with few surprising tricks up their sleeves, I look at this book on my shelf and frequently wonder if there's some good reason I finished it. There just isn't.