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)
Predictable and uninteresting and unintelligent characters. Boring plot.
I was looking for something lite as I just finished the Dune Series but was let down. For a lite read with worthwhile characters and plot check out the Mystborn series.
I love listening to or reading books--especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, classics, & historical.
I found Boneshaker to be entertaining, suspenseful, involving, moving, humorous, and well-read by Kate Reading and Wil Wheaton. In the story Briar Wilkes goes searching for her spunky and ignorant son Zeke in an alternate history, never-ending Civil War-era downtown Seattle encircled by a 200-foot wall enclosing a nightmarish surface poisoned by "Blight" gas and overrun by ravenous man-eating zombie "Rotters," beneath which different pockets of stubborn, independent, or power-hungry people try to survive.
Kate Reading reads Briar Wilkes' point of view chapters and Wil Wheaton Zeke's, and both speak clearly with appropriate pacing and emotion and are pleasurable to listen to in their base narration voices and various character voices. As some listeners have noted, when Briar and Zeke's plot strands begin to intertwine in the second half of the novel and the same characters begin showing up in each other's chapters, we notice the (inevitable) difference between Reading doing certain character voices and Wheaton doing them, but I found their different styles complementary rather than jarring, enjoyed changing from one reader to the other, and even almost believed I was listening to this chapter narrated by the boy's mother and that chapter by her son (even though the narration is third person).
Cherie Priest is good at putting her believable main characters and savory supporting ones into intense situations that reveal more about their environments, personalities, or backgrounds. I wish she had done more with some things, like the shambling mobs of generic zombies, the Chinese air-maintenance faction, and the formidable Boneshaker machine, but, thanks to Reading and Wheaton, I couldn't stop listening to her exciting, character-driven story.
This story has so many great ingredients - mad scientists, airships, a walled-off Seattle to prevent the spread of contagion. My only problem with it is the zombies. They aren't the mindless slaves of a mad priest or persisting in animation for more Starbuck's lattes, they just roam around wanting human flesh, even though they're dead from poison gas. I know this is standard movie zombie behavior, but I prefer my mythological beasts to make a tiny bit of sense in books. Still, it's well told.
Huntress of Dirty Socks
Good story, but I found the switch of narrators distracting. In some books it works well ("The Help" comes to mind) but not this one. There was just no reason to justify it.
Of the two narrators I found Wil Wheaton's reading preferable and I think I would've enjoyed it more if he'd read it all the way through.
Reading's reading (dang... I'm probably the millionth reviewer to use that phrase) makes Briar's personality too drained and dispirited to listen too for very long.
Drama teacher and Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan
The book gets an extra star just because of the flesh-eating zombies. Not a bad book, but it dragged a little too long. Well written with a great ending -- and a surprise that Wil Wheaton is a great narrator.
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