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Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) by…

Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) (edition 2009)

by Cherie Priest

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5501652,364 (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

Work details

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

  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 (162)  Polish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (165)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
I've read Cherie Priest before but only her urban fantasy series Cheshire Red Reports which was pretty fab. Boneshaker is an example of early steampunk, and it's simply fantastic.

Intense, gripping, gritty. There are no flourishes here, nothing extra, everything is simple and pure. It's drab and deadly, and the whole plot reads more like post-apocalyptic fiction with shabby ruins of an abandoned city, toxic gas, hordes of undead and underground tunnels full of criminals, smugglers and just queer folk.

I absolutely loved it! Boneshaker reads in one breath, there is so much energy and drive here. The characterization is unbelievably good. I did not see a single token character. Everyone is full of life and little odd traits that make human beings so unique.

Briar seems like a pretty dry, rigid character at first. She is 37 and works really hard to provide for her teenage son. She is also a social outcast because her late husband destroyed Seattle with his Boneshaker machine and started all the mess. However when her teenage son decides to slip into the city to find proof that his father wasn't a criminal and then the earthquake destroys the tunnel he used to get inside, she becomes this fury, a woman on the mission and will do anything to save him.

Zeke is a fab character as well. Through most of the book him and Briar are separated from each other, both having their own adventures and being worried sick about each other, but their love, their strong family ties are obvious and when they are together they are pretty unstoppable.

There is a sense of rightness about this book, it reads like a really good action movie and leaves you entirely satisfied with the ending. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the books in this series, and recommend you to do the same. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
Not a great fan of steampunk or zombie fiction, but this was surprisingly enjoyable. Good job of capturing the claustrophobic feel of a walled up 19th century Seattle, enveloped in a poison zombie-producing gas called "the Blight." Main characters, though rather hard-headed, were well developed. ( )
  crosbyp | Nov 14, 2015 |
In Civil War era Seattle, a steam-driven mining machine has run amok and opened a volcanic fissure that releases a zombifying gas. The damaged area is walled off, the inventor responsible disappears and his young wife is left to fend for herself. Years later Briar Wilkes toils in the outskirts of Seattle to support herself and her teenage son, Zeke. Determined to discover the truth about his father, Zeke crosses through the wall, and Briar follows close behind determined to save him. Inside the wall, full of poison gas and hungry zombies, they discover a community of dogged survivors living underground and in sealed-off buildings, including a certain sinister doctor who produces amazing inventions but exacts cruel prices.

Okay, so this is the first proper steampunk novel I've read in ages. Back when I read The Difference Engine, I'm not even sure it was even a thing. Anyway, frankly, this dragged. For a bog chunk of the middle, I just wanted it to be over. It didn't help that one of the two protagonists was a young idiot, your actual punk, and I kept wanting him to fall down a hole and die. I reckon if it had been a hundred pages shorter it would have been fine. It's tight, well, if rather plainly, written and the setting is fantastic. If anything, Priest's big mistake is in her restraint. A few more bells and whistles, or gears and cogs, added to the plot, to baroque the story up a bit, give it a bit more attitude, make the book a lot more ornery. A few elaborate secrets and mysteries, a few more gonzo characters and situations. As it is, it feels like she's carefully contained the necessary madness behind a high wall and won't let it out. Which is a pity. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (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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