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Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) (edition 2009)

by Cherie Priest

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6481702,258 (3.64)349
Member:donalbane26
Title:Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books)
Authors:Cherie Priest
Info:Tor Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Rating:****
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 349 mentions

English (167)  Polish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (170)
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Fun steampunk novel taking place in a fictionalized Seattle in the late 1800's. Fabulous larger-than-life characters, wacky steampunk technology and....ZOMBIES!!! What more could you ask for really? Lots of action, suspense and a mystery to solve made this a real page-turner for me. Recommended. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
It took me a couple of tries to get this book started, but I sure was glad once I got going. A steampunk tale set in an alternate-history Seattle (with airships AND zombies!) Boneshaker turned out to be one of those books I couldn't wait to get back to...and during one of the busiest times in my schedule, too, so it was torture. ( )
  cvalin | Jan 24, 2016 |
I have long resisted reading steampunk. Possibly because I'm not very mechanically-minded and all the cogs and steam made me nervous. Maybe because I have a fear of goggles and seeing the extra layers and straps in the costumes made me feel fat.

Whatever the reasons, it was a good year between reading a 'start here' article sent from a friend and actually picking up some Cherie Priest.

Set in the late 19th century, Boneshaker is about a device that turned most of burgeoning Seattle into a soupbowl of yellow gas called Blight. When the ground was churned and crumbled, the gases trapped underneath shot up to kill off animal and plant life, choke people to death and then zap them into zombiedom. The whole hot mess has been cut off from the rest of the area by an enormous stone wall.

The Boneshaker's inventor, Leviticus Blue, disappeared the day his machine tore the town apart. His wife Briar and their son Zeke are pariahs scrounging out a living in the mudflats outside the wall. When Zeke finds a map of the downtown area, he heads off to get past the wall and find out what really happened with his father's invention - and if Leviticus is actually alive. Briar naturally freaks out and goes into the city after him to tell him the truth about his father and get him out alive.


Though the lack of hygiene gave me the squirms, this one made onto my Just Read It Already list for 2010. Pirates? check. Zombies? check. Soap? ehh.
If you haven't tried steampunk - or if you've just not read this author - I'm giving it two sooty thumbs up. Just 'no touch-y' with those goggles. ( )
  grammarchick | Jan 5, 2016 |
I have long resisted reading steampunk. Possibly because I'm not very mechanically-minded and all the cogs and steam made me nervous. Maybe because I have a fear of goggles and seeing the extra layers and straps in the costumes made me feel fat.

Whatever the reasons, it was a good year between reading a 'start here' article sent from a friend and actually picking up some Cherie Priest.

Set in the late 19th century, Boneshaker is about a device that turned most of burgeoning Seattle into a soupbowl of yellow gas called Blight. When the ground was churned and crumbled, the gases trapped underneath shot up to kill off animal and plant life, choke people to death and then zap them into zombiedom. The whole hot mess has been cut off from the rest of the area by an enormous stone wall.

The Boneshaker's inventor, Leviticus Blue, disappeared the day his machine tore the town apart. His wife Briar and their son Zeke are pariahs scrounging out a living in the mudflats outside the wall. When Zeke finds a map of the downtown area, he heads off to get past the wall and find out what really happened with his father's invention - and if Leviticus is actually alive. Briar naturally freaks out and goes into the city after him to tell him the truth about his father and get him out alive.


Though the lack of hygiene gave me the squirms, this one made onto my Just Read It Already list for 2010. Pirates? check. Zombies? check. Soap? ehh.
If you haven't tried steampunk - or if you've just not read this author - I'm giving it two sooty thumbs up. Just 'no touch-y' with those goggles. ( )
  grammarchick | Jan 5, 2016 |
My first steampunk book... or is it? When I look at “Best steampunk books” list they tend to include H.G. Wells' [b:The Time Machine|2493|The Time Machine|H.G. Wells|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327942880s/2493.jpg|3234863] and China Miéville's [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)|China Miéville|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1393537963s/68494.jpg|3221410] both of which I have read but I doubt Mr. Wells had steampunk in mind at the time of writing, and the excellent [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)|China Miéville|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1393537963s/68494.jpg|3221410] seems to encompass several subgenres. In any case Boneshaker is the first consciously steampunk book I ever read. According to Tor.com Cherie Priest is the Queen of Steampunk, with Boneshaker being her most popular book, and it was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. A triple steampunk whammy then, seems like an excellent place to sampling this relatively new subgenre.

Unfortunately for Boneshaker it is the book I read immediately after Margaret Atwood's wonderful [b:Oryx and Crake|46756|Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)|Margaret Atwood|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327896599s/46756.jpg|3143431], a book it has virtually nothing in common with apart from the author's gender. Comparing the two books would not be "apple to apple", except that Oryx and Crake is a hard act to follow in term of the impact on this reader and just the sheer excellence of it. Having said that Boneshaker is not too shabby. I was looking for a accessible, entertaining sf/f quick-read and this book fits the bill reasonably well. However, I was expecting it to be a little more breezy and the first few chapters turn out to be rather melancholy, and our heroes are introduced in a depressing state of privation. There are two protagonists in this book, a lady called Briar and her teenage son Zeke, their relationship is somewhat tumultuous thanks to the absent father who messed up their city with his Boneshaker super drilling machine, which caused buildings to collapse, several deaths, and worse of all release a noxious gas from underground which turn people into zombies (of the fast moving variety).

The book is fairly welled paced though there is a chapter of Zeke having a long drawn out angst ridden scene with his mom which taxed my patience a bit. Once the adventure gets going however, the book chugs along nicely to the very end. The world building is very nicely done throughout, from the very first chapter which establishes the world vividly and the "poisoned city" and the underground part of the book is are skilfully created. Ms. Priest herself is quite the prose stylist, she often comes up with clever turns of phrase and lyrical descriptions. Her dialogues sometime sparkle and suitably formal or flowery for the 19th century setting. I would say the writing is somewhat above average for sf/f, certainly for a steampunk/zombie mashup.

There are a couple of weaknesses in the book however. The character Zeke is your typical wilful independent rebellious teen archetype. I do not find him very prepossessing, he is a little short on personality, his motivation is not entirely convincing, he seems to be there to drive the plot and appeal to teen readers. Fortunately his mother Briar is a more interesting protagonist who goes on her own separate adventure to find Zeke after he went off on his own into the walled zombie filled city to do his not very convincing motivation thing. Her character is much more successfully developed and she is quite believable, strong, smart and likable, I wonder if this has anything to do with the author's gender and identification with her character? Secondly the plot seems to meander a little, especially when the narrative is switched to Zeke's point of view. I find myself not so invested in Zeke's plight and wish the damn zombies would just make a happy meal out of him. The supporting adult characters are quiet nicely developed also, my favorite being Lucy with her steam driven mechanical arm.

In fact the steampunk aspect of the book may be its best feature, I enjoy the descriptions of weird steam driven machines with oil leaking all over the place. The scientific details are never gone into but the alternative technology is still more believable than the magic found in most fantasy novels.

The book ends satisfactorily though I could have done without the superfluous epilogue. I am not sure whether I will read the other volumes in this Clockwork Century series, but I am likely to read more of Cherie Priest's novels. The lady has skillz.

(3.75 stars or something like that!) ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (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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Epigraph
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)
Dedication
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.
First words
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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Book description
(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)

(summary from another edition)

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