Boneshaker by Cherie PriestThis weekend I finally turned the last page of Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker.  It took me nearly two months to polish this one off, and I feel like I both enjoyed it and didn’t enjoy it at the same time.

First off, the book contains two elements I like: steampunk and zombies.  The story is thus: In 1880s America (or there about), Seattle has been partly/largely destroyed by an event in which a machine ran amok, dug a giant hole under the city causing the release of some weird gas that makes people sick and turns them to zombies.  The remains of the city are walled up and a small industry has risen from the distillation of the gas into other products (drugs mostly).  People still live in the walled city, pumping in safe air from high up (the weird gas is heavy and sits within the walls like liquid in a bowl) and using gas masks when needing to venture outside.  The son of the man responsible, having never known his father, enters the city to learn more, and his mother goes in after him.  Overall, a well formed world is crafted by Priest and the elements of the tale are interesting.  If you really love zombies or steampunk, I recommend the book.

On the other hand, if you aren’t hardcore into either or both, I might wave you off.  Priest’s book is dense.  She is working hard to craft a world here, and sometimes I felt like that got in the way of the story.  Numerous times, for me, the book came to a halt while she took the time to describe objects and places and how things were.  In stark contrast, her action sequences were quick and lively, and made the non-action seem that much slower.  Because of this, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

So, I cautiously recommend Boneshaker.  I enjoyed it overall, but at times felt like I was slogging through it just to finish.

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