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Steampunk Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (The Clockwork Century #1)


Synopsis from Goodreads

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 subterranean 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 teenaged 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.

Amazon  US/UK(£5.59) | Amazon kindle US/UK(£3.74) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 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.

* * *
Прекрасный пример раннего стимпанка, нет в этой книге ничего лишнего, никаких вычурных деталей, нарядов, фривольностей.

Скорее она читается как пост-апокалиптичная литература, мрачная, жёсткая, полная развалин, темноты, токсичного газа, орды живых мертвецов, туннелей, бандитов и контрабандистов...

Прочитывается на одном дыхании, перед глазами встаёт как хороший приключенческий боевик, характеризация героев просто потрясающая. Ну ни одного картонного персонажа не встречается, у каждого героя свои тайны, глубина и неоднозначность. Кажется, что вот разгадала как он тикает, ан-нет! Наступает момент в повествовании, когда своё мнение о нём приходится немного менять.

Брайар сначала кажется чёрствой и циничной героиней. В свои 37 лет она работает на заводе и изо всех сил пытается обеспечить жильём и едой своего сына-подростка Эзекиля.

Эзекиль - дикий мальчик, живущий в тени своего героя деда и криминала отца, чьё изобретение привело к разрушению Сиэттла и вызволению из недр земли смертельного газа, который превратил умерших людей в городе в зомби. Устав от насмешек и несправедливостей, он решает уйти в город и найти доказательство невиновности своего отца, Леви.

Когда после его ухода небольшое землетрясение обрушивает  туннель в город, Брайар готова пойти на всё, чтобы спасти Зеки.

По большей части книги оба персонажа пытаются найти друг друга, проходя через множество приключений и пытаясь понять расстановку сил среди групп, живущих в подпольном Сиэттле. Но когда они наконец-то воссоединяются, их любовь друг к другу и семейные узы совершенно очевидны и как команда они просто неукротимы.

Книга великолепная, удовольствие от концовки получаешь огромное, и я совершенно определённо буду читать продолжение серии!


Blodeuedd said...

I would read it :) I have had my eye on it too but like with many books..just not enough time

Kat said...

I haven't really read a steampunk book before - this looks like a good place to start :-D

nrlymrtl said...

I really should unbury this book from the TBR Mountain and put on the bedstand to read over the holidays. Thanks for the review.

Mel said...

Ooo, I would love to read this one especially after your glowing review! I do like my steampunk! :-)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Blodeuedd, Mel, it was pretty cool, so I hope you both read it!

Kat, zombies! It will be right up your alley :))

Nrlymrtl, I hope you read it soon - it was a refreshing and fast read!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

AAH i have had this book forever ..do you see a trend here? I by all these awesome books just to look at them *facepalm*

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Another one to pull out from your TBR, lady! *wink*

Christina said...

Oh wow, you likes this one more than I did. I thought she did a great job with the setting and everything, but the characters left me cold. I never really felt anything for Briar or her son.

So, yes, I enjoyed it, but it didn't touch me. I had the same problem with the next two books in the series.

Do you have a kindle? If so, I could loan you book two, which is pretty much only available by ebook.

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