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 16 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.
©2009 Cherie Priest (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan." (Publishers Weekly)
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Zombies aren’t my favorite thing, but I did enjoy the story and the non-zombie characters in Boneshaker. Interesting setting — a mist-filled walled-off portion of Seattle.
i'm sorry but this is just not very good. the most interesting aspect of the story, the Boneshaker device, basically appears for a split second. then there is an unfortunate novel length digression into zombie chases etc. and the steampunk element is rather unapparent also but for a few places. I kept thinking how much more i enjoyed Pynchon's underground "boat" and his "chums of chance" airship episodes in Against the Day. Admittedly Pynchon is not for everyone, but this pales in comparison and that was only one element of Pynchon's massive tome. and the narration did not impress me either, passable at best, I got so tired of it all I put replay on 2x and missed nothing, realizing only then how slow and tedious the narration was, not crisp and exciting at all. I'm sorry but a dud and have no intent to go one with any more by this author. and i think it won a nebula award or something, or was nominated, which does not speak well for the state of scifi today.
The author managed to turn steam-punk zombies, zeppelin fights and walled-off poison gas filled cities into a book that was just plain boring. Like the un-dead that populate it, the plot just runs on inertia with no spark of life.
And that's too bad because the basic elements were promising. But Cherie Priest squandered the nice setup and wrote a story which you've read many times before: two people try to find each other in a hostile land but - dang it all - they keep running into obstacles while all the time being chased by various bad guys and firing weapons.
This humorless and predictable mill and chase goes on for a long time but In the end nothing of interest is really answered. And that's too bad because there were intriguing questions that could have been explored if only the author had pumped a little more life into her book about the dead.
Boneshaker is an interesting mix of cool gadgets, survival horror and eccentric characters. Even so, all those elements exists simply to provide an exciting framework for what the book is really about: The character development of two very realistic people (a 15 year old boy and his mother), both of which are very easy to identify with. For the first hour I felt that the plot started out too slowly but when I now look back, I realize that it couldn't have been any other way.
This is one of the highest quality steampunk stories I've read/heard.
I thoroughly enjoyed Boneshaker. The plot was fantastic and the characters were well-developed (steampunk + zombies, what's not to like?). I only have one small quibble. The audio book used two different narrators throughout the work. This tactic was effective for the majority of the book since each narrator provided the perspective of one of the main protagonists. When the protagonists meet up towards the end of the book there is some conflict with the narration. A character that was voiced by one narrator was suddenly voiced by the other narrator. The discontinuity is jarring. It would have been worth a bit of post production to overcome this small problem in what was otherwise a fantastic read.
Wil Wheaton and Kate Reading are both great narrators. In this case their styles and approach to the text give their interspersed chapters more of a clashing than complimentary feel. This made the presentation feel disjointed and the unique voice and approach of each narrator to the text made it feel like there were two separate but related texts.
I listen to books when I'm at work or doing chores. I prefer history and fantasy. My favorite audio book is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.
I've always been on the fence about steampunk but this book is so well written it wouldn't matter what genre it was in. The characters are easy to love and the setting is detailed but not overly so. While I've had issues with Kate Reading's narratives in the past because she can only really do one male voice the way the narration switches between Wil Wheaton and Reading resolves the issue to satisfaction. Each reader perfectly suits their role. This work is one of the best all around audio books I've listened to in ages.
Yes, I would recommend this. It's a highly original story with great characters.
This fits in with the other 2 books of the Clockwork Century trilogy. Love that there are 3 great books with strong women lead characters who can care for themselves & kick some butt.
The scenes in King Station were creepy but so well brought to life! I will never go through that station again without thinking of the big fight there.
An entertaining enough adventure, but it felt like the book equivalent of skipping rocks over a pond. The characters never really gained any depth, and the plot was very episodic. I'm amazed by its Hugo nomination, to be honest. I guess everyone else likes zombies more than me - I was just here for the steampunk. The readers added a lot to my enjoyment - I thought they were great.
Geeky, Homeschooling Mom to three geeklets.
I am having a very hard time with Kate Reading's narriation. It's probably just me, but I find her reading style jarring, and look forward to the chapters by Wil Wheaton because they are smoother. Kate's voice often goes up in a questioning manner at the end of a statement. And her emphasis on words is often distracting. Wil's portions are much better to listen to.
The story is good, well written and enjoyable!
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