Plot: Rector “Wreck’em” Sherman is an orphan, a sap dealer and an addict. He is facing adulthood, expulsion from the orphanage and his guilt over the death of Zeke Wilkes, who he helped enter the poisoned city of Seattle. With nowhere left to go he decides to go over the wall and bury the boy who haunts him. But the city is not what he expected: Zeke is alive, living in a struggling underground community, and a huge monster, unlike the rotters he has been warned of is roaming the city. It is a race to see what will kill him first: the people, the monsters or his own addiction.
This volume takes us back to Seattle and all the characters we loved in Boneshaker. Rector is an interesting narrator. He is muddled (though you can watch his thinking get clearer as the story unfolds), cowardly, prideful and his morals are questionable. In the opening scene, he sneaks through the orphanage, stealing candles and food muttering to himself about how they owe him for kicking him out. And he honestly believes it. You might think that it would be hard to like such a character but he really grows on you. It may be all his bad luck he’s had or it may simply be the ways in which he begins to redeem himself. But whatever the reason, I feel rather protective of Rector.
The story really focuses on Rector though we see a lot of Zeke and Houjin who become his friends, almost in spite of him. (The BL fan in me sees something more going on between him and Houjin but that’s probably just me, there’s not really any romance in this book. ;P) We also get to see Miss Angelina in action which is a real treat. Though she has her reasons for taking Rector under her wing, I really liked their relationship. Between the four of them, they get into enough trouble for several books. With zombies, giant monsters, invaders and an environment out to kill them, they hardly even have to go looking for trouble.
The epilogue, cruelly, hints at greater dangers and higher stakes yet to come. I predict a story about Miss Mercy’s Texas Ranger friend from Dreadnought but honestly I would be content with any story set in Priest’s steampunk world at this point.