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 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.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
After reading great books like the Hunger Games and The Knife of Never Letting Go, I wondered what makes a book, Ya. I thought It meant no sex, but after reading this book, I now know it means, it reads like it was written by a youth.
The concept of the story was pretty good, reminding me of Sanderson's "Elantris" and the movie," Escape From New York". Unfortunately, CP failed to capitalize on a great story Idea.
Briar Wilkes the main character has no character. She is a boring droll individual. I could easily understand why her husband was bored with her.
I have never heard so many cliches in one book in my life.
Even the Zombies are boring in this book. The mad scientist is pretty tame and lame.
I will admit that I did listen to all of it, because I did want to find out what was going to happen and there was a small twist at the end.
Cherie is not going to break out of the YA category with this type of effort.
I enjoyed Wil Wheaton's performance and Kate Reading was good in all, but her interpretation of Briar Wilkes. She did not help make her real, using the same voice she used for Aes Sedai. While it worked for Aes Sedai it does not work for a Mom with a son in danger.
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.
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.
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!
Well I really listened to it rather than read it. An exciting roller-coaster ride full of gunfights, dirigibles, infernal machines and zombies. But not only that, rounded characters you really care about. A perfect steampunk adventure.
"Entertaining but flawed"
I enjoyed listening to this book but I thought the plot was a little daft and facets of the story were flawed, so that I found it difficult to believe and get involved in it.
For example, inside the walled-off city there are hundreds of typically slow, loping and utterly unscary undead. Some 'living' people chose to remain in the poisoned city when the wall was erected and now eek out a living and existence there. The main protagonists enter the city 16 years after the wall went up and are chased by the undead only to be saved by one of the (living) locals who has a mechanical 'clapper' device. This sonic weapon stuns and incapacitates great swathes of the marauding zombies for maybe five minutes. My point is, why hasn't anyone done the kind thing and despatched all the undead while they are lying prone and unable to defend themselves? This weapon introduces the possibility that the living could have cleared the whole city of the undead in maybe the first week (after its invention), but instead are themselves being picked off by the zombies, some of whom must be eligible for bus-passes by now.
Also, a toxic smog covers the whole city, but the wealthy seem to have crops and chickens for food, with no mention of how this trick is achieved - maybe mini gas-masks for the chickens?
It was points like these that frustrated me a little, since the society that has been carved out in the city has not been thought out properly by the author, and if she's not clear on how the city has evolved over the years, what hope is there for me?
If you can suspend, or preferably throttle your disbelief for a few hours, this was an entertaining listen, which I thought was well read by both narrators, who made a good effort of bringing Ms Priest's characters and story to undeath.
"Not your average steam punk heroine"
This is great. The heroine, Briar, is a single mother in her 30s determinedly setting out to find her missing teenage son, Zeke, in a "rotter" zombie ravaged 19th century Seattle full of poisonous "blight" gas and under the sway of a sinister doctor who may or may not be someone she knows.
Zeke is trying to find out the truth about his father and Briar is pretty close mouthed about what she knows throughout. Refreshingly, there is no romantic storyline tacked on for Briar or Zeke just people who help them or who don't. Both main characters are believable in their motivations and reactions to events.
I like the sharing of narration between 2 readers for Briar's and Zeke's chapters and they both do a find job at it: Wil Wheaton capturing the slightly whiny adolescent tone of Zeke and Kate Reading, Briar's weary but determined voice.
first time listening to a steam punk type. enjoyed it but could have had more depth to the story. love will weaton and kate is excellent as always
"Listen again and again!"
The narrators are brilliant. They bring this story alive
I love the steampunk clockwork theme with bonus background zombies! i'm looking forward to the movie.
My favorite voice Wil Wheaton does is for the Princess, i get such a mental image of this warrior woman i just want to see what she'll do next. All the characters are well defined and as stated in the title i have and will continue to listen to this great book.
I just love it=)
"Okay, not my cup of tea"
The performance is good. Kate Reading is superior to Wil Wheaton -which is a shame as I am a Wil Wheaton fan.
This is my first Steampunk novel - and I now know that it is not my cup of tea. The story itself was fairly basic, with a few excellent ideas. I am sure if someone is into Steampunk, then this will be right up there.
I think I will stick to plain old fantasy series.
"An interesting premise, annoying main characters"
The story and universe set up is great, I just found the main characters annoying. The whiney teenager was irritating, and I felt the story lost its way a little towards the end. I am optimistic about the sequels though, if they are not confined to the same city, and branch out into the often referenced civil war.
"Very Enjoyable Steampunk"
Boneshaker is Cherie Priests first foray into Steampunk.
This is a genre that I find particularly appealing but this was my first book of that genre. Based on this I will be revisiting a lot more.
It is good to know that the narration is by both a woman and a man, so that when the perspective is from one of the two main characters you get a different voice which actually works quite well.
Kate reading is a little robotic on occasion and therefore some of the exciting parts are read without much excitement in her voice, but this still doesnt take away from a solid performance by both readers.
The story paints a wonderful picture of the setting and world in which this takes place and you can almost imagine it around you.
The characters are varied and interesting and the plot moves quickly and draws you in. I found I looked forward to listening to it and enjoyed several of the supporting characters just as much as the leads.
It does have all the tropes I am lead to believe tend to appear in the sub genre, but it feels like it is done well in a way that works for the story rather than shoehorning them in just to be present.
In short I really enjoyed this listen and found it an exciting story as a whole.
As a huge steampunk fan I was dissapointed by this book, the idea was good but it is slow paced and far too long.
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