Customer Reviews: Ganymede
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on July 9, 2016
haven't finished but enjoying it so far
and if the previous books are any indication I won't be disappointed by the ending
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on May 28, 2016
i really like this series, very interesting with excellent characters.
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on November 25, 2015
Love this type of story.
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on July 27, 2015
WARNING: Review contains minor spoilers.

After I read and fell in love with Cherie Priest's "Boneshaker," I decided to hunt down and read the other books in her steampunk/zombie/alternate history series "The Clockwork Century." She had a knack for coming up with inventive scenarios in otherwise familiar circumstances, in lavishly describing her alternate Civil-War-era America, and in creating a cast of quirky but resourceful characters with spunk, grit, and colorful personalities. I fell in love with Briar Wilkes in "Boneshaker," and while Mercy's tale in "Dreadnought" wasn't quite as engrossing, it was nice to see the world of the first book fleshed out further. I had no idea what would be in store with "Ganymede," but I figured it would be a fun ride.

While indeed fun to read and peopled with both new and familiar colorful characters, "Ganymede" isn't quite up to the standards of the first two books. It's nice to see the story progress, but I still feel like this is a story that would be better off as a short novella or a sub-plot of a longer novel, rather than it's own standalone adventure.

Andan Cly, the airship pilot we met in "Boneshaker" and "Dreadnought," is going straight -- or as straight as possible in the ruined but still-inhabited wasteland of Seattle -- and sets out to refit his airship to carry goods and passengers instead of the addictive, deadly sap. He didn't count on his first mission to secure much-needed supplies for the tenacious frontier city to take him to New Orleans, or to run into a familiar face from his past -- the headstrong, mixed-race Josephine Early, the madam of a high-class brothel in the Big Easy. Josephine not only runs a tight ship with her "boarding house," but helps fight both the Confederacy and the invading Texas forces... and she wants Cly to help her with an impossible mission. For a band of outlaws has stolen an experimental underwater craft, the titular Ganymede, and she thinks he's the perfect pilot to get it past the Texas blockade and into the hands of the Union. Cly reluctantly agrees, and he and his crew set out to smuggle their unlikely cargo... and hope that rotters, the Texas military, the waters of the Mississippi, and/or the feisty Josephine don't kill them first.

Like the previous two books, "Ganymede" paints a vivid picture of an alternate, sometimes fantastic United States during the Civil War. I enjoyed seeing where Priest did her research, and where she gleefully subverted it to make way for her own version of history. Her characters are a joy to get to know, and I couldn't help but root for both Cly and Early throughout the book. Her secondary characters are fun to get to know as well, and I hope to see more of them in future books and stories.

However, as a few other reviewers have said, I do feel that this book "plays it safe," and follows a fairly predictable story. I never really felt that the characters were in great danger, despite how often drowning and/or the blockade were presented as a threat. There wasn't a whole lot of suspense, even during the climactic blockade run, and for a book that takes place during war and an encroaching zombie apocalypse, that's a disappointment.

Also the zombies/rotters, despite being the main antagonistic force in the previous two books, are little more than a side note here. It feels like the main narrative of the series has been put on hold for a "side quest," and sadly that means some interesting plot threads are left hanging. I hope some of them will be resolved in future books, but one of them is sadly cut off forever without resolution due to the death of a character.

Lastly, during the book's climax the action comes to a screeching halt for a revelation to be made about a minor character. Said revelation ends up having no impact on the plot, wasn't foreshadowed at all, and seems to be wedged in just to be "politically correct" regarding a certain minority. I don't mind minorities of any kind being represented in fiction, but they need to fit into the flow of the story instead of being thrown in for the sake of being there. The author claims in the afterward of the book that said character is based on a real historical figure, but all the same, the book would have been just fine without slamming the brakes on the action to force the revelation in. It should have been handled better than it was.

By no means a terrible book, "Ganymede" is still only OK rather than excellent. I feel that it could have been a novella or a subplot to another book instead of its own stand-alone adventure, and it feels like it was a short story padded out to novel-length. Still, I did have fun reading it, and I'm going to continue reading the series and hope the future installments improve.
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on June 16, 2015
The Clockwork Century Books are a good read! I am enjoying them and have the fourth waiting for me in my Kindle.
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on November 11, 2014
Probably one of, if not the, best book in the series. Hilarious and fun to read. :3
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on October 5, 2014
It's unfortunate when a series that starts so strong ends up losing its second wind right when you think it's found it. But that's what happens in Ganymede. The first two books, Boneshaker and Dreadnought, rocked and rolled straight through. Clementine was a non-series filler, IMO, and passably entertaining. Ganymede, I'd hoped, would make up for that, but it just didn't. I struggled to find a character I could care about long enough to relate to. With a mix of protagonists, the book starts out like it's riding two horses, and that seemed to bedevil the narrative all the way through to the climax. Also, as other reviewers have pointed out, the last minute revelation of a deep dark secret belonging to one of the side characters just failed to go off with anything more than a "token mention?" fizzle. Neat idea, poor execution.
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on March 19, 2014
"Ganymede" has everything you could want. Attractive, believable characters, danger, mystery, and surprises you never see until they hit you. It is entertaining from the first page to the last and worth a second read for all of the details and nuances you may have missed the first time. I highly recommend it and the rest of The Clockwork Century series!
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on February 14, 2014
The mental picture Ganymede offers is luscious and wonderful from cover to cover. Definitely one of Priest's better works in my humble opinion. Would really love to see a continued trend of African American women represented in literature. Priest tackles what could be a difficult obstacle with all the grace and maturity the issue deserves. Never have I read a lighter skinned author describe darker skinned characters' appearances, let alone in such beautiful ways. And most importantly, Priest's diverse cast feels ultimately human. Whether or not she set out to tackle the inequality literature, bless her for doing so.
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on November 20, 2013
The third novel (there's a novella in between there somewhere) of the "Clockwork Century" series. Our hero, Andan Cly, is an airship pirate trying to go straight. He lives in zombie-infested Seattle and wants to settle down with his love Briar Wilkes.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, the heroine, Josephine Early, sends Cly a message asking for help. They had a thing years ago, and it ended, so she doesn't exactly want to call on him, but she needs a really good airship pilot and she's desparate.

Oh, by the way, Josephine is the madame of a strictly genteel bordello in the Quartier, and tough as nails. While she's awaiting Cly's response, she goes to rescue her brother, who gets caught when Texas -- by the way, it's 1881 and the Civil War is still going on, and Texas is an independent republic -- anyway, Texas raids Barataria Bay, where "the Lafittes" have their base. Yep, more pirates, both air and water. Her brother, Deaderick, is not a pilot but a guerilla and freedom fighter ... oh, did I mention they're free blacks? ... who happened to be there when the shooting began and got, well, shot.

Cly arrives in N'awlins and discovers that what she wants him to pilot is not an airship but a top-secret submersible called the Ganymede, which has killed a lot of people who tried to pilot her. His mission, should he choose to accept it, is to pilot the boat down the Mississippi to the Gulf and hook up with a Yankee "airship carrier."

That's the setup. As a bonus, New Orleans is also infested with zombies, though not as badly as Seattle. In fact, they're popping up all over.

This is good stuff, weakened only a little by Priest's occasionally having characters say things like "blowing my mind," which I'm pretty sure is a '60sism.
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