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Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey

Dead Reckoning (edition 2012)

by Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill

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10313117,210 (3.36)3
Title:Dead Reckoning
Authors:Mercedes Lackey
Other authors:Rosemary Edghill
Info:Bloomsbury USA Childrens (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, YA, young adult, zombies, old west, steampunk, inventors, gunslingers, scouts, massacres

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Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey


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I read about two thirds of this book, until the little group figured out everything that was going on in about five pages of exposition.

I really miss when Mercedes Lackey wrote for adults. I think this book wouldn't be too far out of the range of something an eight year old friend of mine who's steadily working her way through the Boxcar Children could read, aside from the subject matter of zombies.

VERY young adult. Your mileage may vary. ( )
  lyrrael | Oct 17, 2015 |
See the full review on Short & Sweet Reviews!

Dead Reckoning is a novel that manages to combine several interesting genres into one story: zombies, westerns, and steampunk, all set against the backdrop of the post-Civil War US. Amazingly, no one aspect of this totally overwhelms the others. It truly is a steampunk zombie western, rather than just a zombie story with a few hints of the wild west.

The story is easy to get into and is mostly well-paced, although there were a few spots where things seemed to drag. The three main characters -- Jett, White Fox, and Gibbons -- are relatively well defined, even if they do seem like contemporary YA stereotypes. Jett is a girl posing as a boy, with plenty of attitude and smarts. White Fox has a mysterious past and is the strong, silent type. Gibbons is a scientist who doesn't behave like your traditional young woman in the 1860s. There are the tiniest hints of romantic possibilities, but this story is in no way a love triangle, or even an unrequited-crush triangle. Despite the fact that you can find similar characters in any number of YA books, the three of them still make a quirky trio whose exploits are easy to get invested in. Each of the three have their own secrets, and bits of backstory are sprinkled throughout the story. ( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
I struggled with the story's opening. The paragraph establishing Jett's secret identity was a mess. First I thought Jasper was her twin brother, and Philip and Philippa her siblings. And the time line for when she played acted being a boy was muddled with being separated by the war. This confusing introduction was followed hard by Jett's less than convincing reasons why her boy persona had to be a flashy, attention grabbing shootist (if she has the real skills to protect herself with a gun, why pick the over the top costume that guarantees she's going to have a confrontation with someone in every new town?), and these two narrative snafu's made it hard for me get invested in the story.

Unfortunately, even a third of the way in I wasn't any more interested. Jett and White Fox and Gibbons are each caricatures of their own particular flavor, and the tomboy, bluestocking, stalwart Indian scout trio made for super awkward fire side chats. I got as far as tracking the zombie horde to a cult before I couldn't take it any longer, both Jett and Gibbons' POV are clunkey with vernacular.
1 vote Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Originally posted here.

If Cherie Priest's Boneshaker and Wild, Wild West had a lovechild, it would be Dead Reckoning. The book is filled with zombie mayhem from beginning to end in a wild west, steampunk setting. Add in a girl dressed as a boy, some crazy scientists, and religious cult, and you've got the makings for one action-packed ride.

The zombies are pretty creepy, although the addition of the cult is what REALLY makes the whole thing terrifying. Again, the zombies aren't the focal point. They are a bit distinct from the zombies I've encountered in other novels. These are a bit shambly and slow, but they are crazy strong, and almost impossible to dispatch. These zombies, like the origin of the world 'zombie,' are based on voodoo legend. One thing I'm bothered by is the use of the word zombie. It seems that its usage did originate in roughly that time period, but it still felt weird to hear people talking about the Confederacy and zombies in one breath.

The creepy factor they definitely got down, as well as the western bits and the steampunkery with the vehicle and the science. I would have liked to see a bit more humor in it, though. Nothing in the book really made me laugh, and this is a premise that would definitely have been improved with humor. I mean, any gender bender ought to have some amount of humor, because there are so many confusions that can happen.

I read this book in just a couple of hours, one sitting. It's a really fun read, but there wasn't too much more to it for me. Character development is seriously lacking. Both Jett and Gibbons are seriously hardcore women, and, of course, I liked that. However, they were still lacking in any real depth. And they were the best-developed characters. White Fox completely lacks personality. Seriously. He was like so boring. I was also a little confused about why his character was a white man raised by an Indian tribe, rather than just being native. There could have been diversity here, but there isn't.

The other thing about this, which makes me suspect they may be planning to make this a series, is that there are a lot of dropped plot threads. Jett never finds her brother. Despite some comments about how attractive the characters are and some foreshadowing of romance, nothing ever comes close to happening in that department. It just didn't really feel finished to me.

Still, if you want a mindless (zombie pun) read with lots of zombie action that you can dispatch quickly, Dead Reckoning will definitely fulfill your needs. I don't recommend this to anyone looking for a dark, witty, impressively-written novel; this is for fun only. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
an interesting take on the zombie craze.
take the wild west, a southern belle masquerading as a gunslinger, a suffragist female scientist, and a native american add a zombie mystery, and you've got dead reckoning.
some parts were predictable, some were weird, but all were enjoyable. I really liked the different take on zombies. sometimes the bleak future zombie novels get to be a bit much, so seeing a historic take was really interesting. it felt a little world war z to me- the mysteries in the past might be zombie attacks. good for dystopia fans, steampunk fans, history fans, and I think boys will enjoy this as well. there was no romance/love story, which I found to be a refreshing change. every story doesn't need a tragic romance. overall, I quite liked this one. ( )
  librarydanielle | Apr 1, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mercedes Lackeyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edghill, RosemaryAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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In 1867 Texas, Jett, a girl passing as a boy while seeking her long-lost twin brother, joins forces with Honoraria Gibbons, an inventor, and White Fox, a young Army scout, to investigate a zombie army that is terrorizing the West.

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