A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{February 24, 2010}   Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Plot: 15 years ago, Leviticus Blue created a machine to dig through the ice in Alaska. But it went terribly wrong, destroying most of Seattle and releasing a poisonous gas that turns people into zombies. A wall has since been constructed to keep the gas and the zombies inside. Levi’s widow, Briar Wilkes lives in squalor in the Outskirts of the wall and works long hours at the water distilling plant. She and her son are never allowed to forget what her husband has done. But 15 year old Zeke is not willing to believe that his father, and his grandfather, were villains. Without telling his mother, he sneaks under the wall to prove his theory. When he gets trapped on the other side, Briar must go after him and save him.

I must confess, I have a weakness for steampunk. I love Westerfeld’s Leviathan (see the book trailer below) more than is healthy and if I could afford it, my computer would look like this. I can tell, just from reading this book, that Priest loves it too and her writing really brings the world to life. Zombie stories, I don’t like as much. My problem being that I like character driven stories and when you focus on mindless, rotting corpses there isn’t really any strong personality to drive the story. But Priest’s zombies never steal the show; they do what good zombies should and simply create atmosphere, a constant feeling of apprehension that stalks the heroes through their adventures. It isn’t about the zombies, at all. It is about living with consequences. And it is about Briar, a hard working, kick-ass woman and a loving, if arguably, bad mother. She is a wonderful character with strengths and flaws, mistakes and moments of heroism. All the other characters are interesting and three dimensional. I would kill for a book on Lucy, the one armed bar owner, or the Indian princess or one of the airship captains (and I do think there is one forthcoming), or… well, I could go on for ever. But I don’t think I want a sequel; this book is perfect just the way it is.


Genevieve says:

I’m glad you liked Boneshaker!

I was listening to an interview with the author and from what I remember there are two other planned books in the same universe but they’re not exactly sequels. From what I remember, while some characters will show up in all the books, you’ll be able to read them in any order and they’re all going to focus on different people and different aspects of the world. You’re also right about the next one being about airships!

roguelibrarian says:

I know that there will at least one book entitled Clementine about the stolen military airship. I’m really glad that there will be other books in the universe but I still think that continuing Briar and Zeke’s story would take some of the punch out of Boneshaker. It stands perfectly well on its own. ^_^

[…] for an exciting zombie story, save yourself some time and skip to the last four chapters. Or read Boneshaker. roguelibrarian @ 8:08 am [filed under Book review tagged horror, ya, zombies Leave a Comment […]

H.L.Fatnassi says:

Yay for steampunk. Definitely picking this up. Zombies aren’t my thing but it sounds like it’s good nonetheless.

[…] have loved everyone of Priest’s Clockwork Century books (see my reviews for Boneshaker, Dreadnought, Clementine and Ganymede) and The Inexplicables is no […]

[…] you only read one zombie book, make it this one (or possibly Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker). Even my zombie hating bestie has nothing but praise for […]

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