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Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) by…

Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) (edition 2009)

by Cherie Priest

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2,5271632,396 (3.63)346
Title:Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books)
Authors:Cherie Priest
Info:Tor Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:e-book, alt-history, Goodreads_20140630Import, Goodreads_20140630import

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Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Recently added bynvteklib, BomboChipolata, jmdziadik, private library, andyl, ffffaryn, fundevogel, rawrrbot
  1. 100
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (ahstrick)
  2. 60
    Dreadnought by Cherie Priest (iamiam)
    iamiam: "Boneshaker" precedes "Dreadnought" in the series by this author, plus their time-lines follow this order, but neither is dependent upon the other for comprehension of story.
  3. 50
    Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (jseger9000)
  4. 73
    The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (lorax)
    lorax: Steampunk with zombies.
  5. 40
    Clementine by Cherie Priest (7hir7een)
    7hir7een: If you liked the character of Croggon Hainey, and the atmosphere of Priest's alternate history, you'll like this read. It's short, but if you can find it, it's worth it! Be aware, the print books are hard to find, so check out other formats.
  6. 30
    Changeless by Gail Carriger (GirlMisanthrope)
  7. 30
    Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (clif_hiker)
  8. 20
    The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A very creepy Seattle is home to may people . . . and things.
  9. 20
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (ahstrick, andreablythe)
  10. 10
    Odd Men Out by Matt Betts (yarmando)
    yarmando: Steampunk + zombies
  11. 10
    Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (reconditereader)
    reconditereader: Similar setting, similar level of butt-kicking awesomeness.
  12. 22
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 1 by Alan Moore (kraaivrouw)
  13. 00
    The Family Trade by Charles Stross (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both are first series novels, set in alternate America's, with conflicts involving mixes of old/new technologies.
  14. 00
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (sturlington)
  15. 00
    Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both are rattling adventure yarns but with a common flaw of poorly developed 'worlds'
  16. 01
    Hollowland by Amanda Hocking (clif_hiker)
    clif_hiker: YA zombie stories...
  17. 02
    Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey (SunnySD)

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» See also 346 mentions

English (160)  Polish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (163)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
DNF'ed it about half-way through. Had major issues with how characters behaved, and the world did not make sense :( Really wanted to like it, too.
  WeaselOfDoom | Jul 13, 2015 |
Briar Wilkes is the widow of a mad man and great inventor, the late Dr. Blue. She and her teenage son, Ezekiel, must live with the everlasting shame of the horrible disaster Dr. Blue’s mining engine (Boneshaker) caused to downtown Seattle. Blight gas was released all those years ago, turning hundreds of people into the walking dead before that section of the city could be walled off. But now Ezekiel, on the cusp of manhood, goes in search of answers and Briar is hot on his heels. Set in the 1860s Pacific Northwest, this alternate steampunk history will keep you glued to the story.

This was my first Cherie Priest book but will not be my last. The story opens by dropping us into Briar’s life and we pick up the history as we go along. Briar has secrets and lots of folks want to know if her husband, Dr. Blue, is truly dead, including her son. Hence, Ezekiel heads off on his own to find some answers. Of course, this means going into the walled off, deadly gas zone. The folks outside the wall have so many stories about those stuck on the inside, but Ezekiel and his mom are about find out the truth of the matter.

And that is when it gets really interesting. The folks inside are rotting slowly. And there are those who have gone completely zombie. But for the most part, there is still a society of folks trying to scrape by living in underground Seattle. There’s all sorts of requirements to staying save, taking in as little gas as possible, so it’s complicated. It was fascinating to see how this society worked, and the response to Dr. Blue’s widow.

Eventually, Briar has to make a tough trade with guy who runs the underground gas zone. Plus she then has to decide whether or not to tell her son the truth. It was so intense! Toss in some airships, a few crazy weapons, a few handicap folks with mechanical bits, and you have a great story.

The Narration: Wil Wheaton and Kate Reading did a great job. Most of the story is told through Briar’s eyes, so we hear more of Reading. Wheaton was awesome as a confused, somewhat angry teenager. Both had distinct voices for both female and male characters. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Jun 16, 2015 |
I picked up this book--my first steampunk novel--thinking it would be a lot of fun. What a disappointment it turned out to be. Not only was it not much fun, but more than a steampunk story, it turned out to be more about zombies.

Zombies! I'm really getting tired of zombies. Zombies are being so overdone in popular culture that, unless a storyteller has a new way of portraying them (e.g. the "fast" zombies of "28 Days Later"), they just become a tired convention.

And Boneshaker proved to have to no other way to redeem it. The characters were hardly compelling. The story takes place in an alternative-history Seattle where an outlandish machine called the Boneshaker--invented to assist goldmining efforts in the Klondike--has been used to tear up the downtown in an brutal multi-bank robbery. As an unintended side-effect, the Boneshaker has torn a rift in the earth, releasing a zombifying gas called the Blight. Escaping for their lives, escapees have since isolated downtown Seattle by ringing it with a 200-foot wall, for the gas is apparently heavier-than-air. Some health folks (along with a megalomaniacal villian) have chosen to stay in the walled-off city along the zombies, and we meet some of them. But with none of them are we ever given a sense of character as to what would have had them make such a choice. Furthermore, the villain seems only villainous for villainy's sake. And the protagonists have motivations of hardly any more depth.

The prose is penny-dreadful. Unlike what one of the blurbs says recommending the book, it is not taut. Instead, we have too many passages like these:

As soon as Squiddy was gone, Lucy turned to Briar and said, "Are you ready?"
"I'm ready," she promised. "Lead the way."
In front of her, Lucy was battling her arm to make her mask stay in place. Briar offered, "Can I help you with that?"
"Maybe that'd be a good idea."
Briar adjusted the other woman's mask until it settled firmly and buckled behind her ears. She noticed that Lucy had traded the one-hour model she'd sported for a more substantial mask. "It's not sticking in your hair or anything, is it?"

This is not taut writing. This is padding needing an editor.

In another instance, we're told that a character "didn't look so hot." C'mon, Cherie, that's lazy prose! You can express yourself in a better phrase than that. Why make such an effort recreating life in mid-19th century America if you're going to use such 20th-century colloquialisms as "didn't look so hot"?

The final thing that bothers me is that, while I'm willing to engage in the whimsy of a steampunk world, as long as that world supposes to exist on this planet, it still needs to abide by the laws of physics. The Blight, for instsnce, is obviously a heavier-than-air gas, or a wall wouldn't be able to hold it in. And yet, those living their lives out in the walled city do so predominantly underground! Underground would be the worst place for survival in Blight-world, as a heavier-than-air gas would seek the lowest spot to settle.

And here I'm also brought back to those zombies. In numerous places, the decrepitude of their flesh is emphasized to us. Indeed, the characters can step on prone, inert zombies and their bodies essentially crumble. And yet, when the zombies are on the chase, they seem to have superhuman strength, busting through doors and such. Wouldn't oak and iron be impervious to crumbling flesh?

I only ask of steampunkers the same thing I ask of any writer: weave me a world, but make it behave according to come consistent law. A story can be filled with the fantastic, but that doesn't mean that it has to be arbitrary.
( )
  kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
This is a book I started ages ago, but I lost track of it on my Kindle (I keep forgetting that it stores galleys as documents, not books). When I managed to unearth it, I was thrilled to be back in the world of Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. It’s set in the wild and woolly Seattle of the 1880’s, with some major revisions. The city, its population swelled from the Klondike gold rush, has been devastated. The Boneshaker, a mining machine designed to dig through the Klondike ice, has malfunctioned and run wild beneath the city, collapsing buildings, creating tunnels, killing hundreds, and releasing deadly gas from deep underground. The gas, called Blight, boils up from the tunnels and clings like a thick fog. It kills plants and animals, corrodes metal, and turns the humans who breathe it into a sort of zombie, called Rotters. In an attempt to save what they could, the city was walled up, trapping the Blight and the rotters inside. The walls created a lost city, crumbling into ruin, inhabited by the walking dead and those hearty souls who have carved out a living in the basements, vaults, and any place that offers a little clean air.

Briar Wilkes has gone back to using her maiden name, because being the widow of Leviticus Blue does not endear her to her neighbors; Leviticus Blue invented the Boneshaker, after all, and many still hold him responsible for the devastation in the city. She has tried to shield her son, Zeke, from his awful history, but the curiosity of a teenage boy is a powerful force. Zeke has decided to sneak into the walled city, find his mother’s home, and bring back evidence that his father was innocent. When she realizes what he’s done, Briar has no choice but to go in after him.

Their adventures in the city make for a great read. There are pirates and villains, the Chinamen who built and maintain the machinery that keeps the underground inhabitable. There is a good-hearted woman, Lucy O’Gunning, with her strange mechanical arm, and a mysterious villain named Dr. Minnericht, who hints at an even more villainous past. It’s about a mother’s love for her son – all that she’s done, all that she’s tried to do, and all that she is still willing to do to protect him, even if he hates her for it. It’s about how you keep going after tragedy strikes and find a way to live with yourself. And all through the book there are great stories of underground palaces, murderous rotters and shifting alliances – enough to keep you turning pages well past the time you should blow out the candles and turn in for the night. The ending was great (and I’ve had too many disappointing endings lately) and makes me want to pick up the next book right away. It was a great story and my only regret is that I didn’t finish it sooner. The bonus is that the sequels are all lined up for me! ( )
  LisaLynne | Mar 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Overall, Priest has created a terrific story that will please endless science fiction fans in search of a thrill.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, Katherine Petersen (Jan 15, 2010)
Priest’s latest, very simply rocks: It’s not only the steampunk adventure you’ve been waiting for, it’s the steampunk adventure you can give to friends of yours who wonder what the hell’s up with all those Victorian overcoats and goggles.
added by lampbane | editWhatever, John Scalzi (Oct 13, 2009)
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.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Sep 29, 2009)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cherie Priestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foster, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In this age of invention the science of arms has made great progress. In fact, the most remarkable inventions have been made since the prolonged wars of Europe in the early part of the century, and the short Italian campaign of France in 1859 served to illustrate how great a power the engines of destruction can exert.

-- Thomas P. Kettell, History of the Great Rebellion. From its commencement its close, giving an account of its origin, The Secession of the Southern States, and the Formation of the Confederate Government, the concentration of the Military and Financial resources of the federal government, the development of its vast power, the raising, organizing, and equipping of the contending armies and navies; lucid, vivid, and accurate descriptions of battles and bombardments, sieges and surrender of forts, captured batteries, etc., etc.; the immense financial resources and comprehensive measures of the government, the enthusiasm and patriotic contributions of the people, together with sketches of the lives of all the eminent statesmen and military and naval commanders, with a full and complete index. From Official Sources (1862)
This one's for Team Seattle --
Mark Henry, Caitlin Kittredge,
Richelle Mead, and Kat Richardson--
for they are the heart and soul of this place.
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Unpaved, uneven trails pretended to be roads; they tied the nation's coasts together like laces holding a boot, binding it with crossed strings and crossed fingers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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(from the back of the book) In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska's ice. Thus was Dr. Blue's Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born. But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranen vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead. Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue's widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenage boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history. His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.
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Inventor Leviticus Blue creates a machine that accidentally decimates Seattle's banking district and uncovers a vein of Blight Gas that turns everyone who breathes it into the living dead. Sixteen years later Briar, Blue's widow, lives in the poor neighborhood outside the wall that's been built around the uninhabitable city. Life is tough with a ruined reputation, but she and her teenage son Ezekiel are surviving--until Zeke impetuously decides that he must reclaim his father's name from the clutches of history.… (more)

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