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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Didn't know what "steam punk" was....

And now I am sorry I do. This was really boring and if you aren't into the gimmick of the genre, you may find it so as well.

5 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Eivind
  • New York, New York
  • 04-05-10

A solid story

A solid story performed by two solid narrators. This is the book about a mother and a son with a difficult past, how the revisit this past in the slum glum zombie-infested centre of a fictitious "steampunk" Seattle and how they, by overcoming mountainous obstacles, reinvigorate their own relationship. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Sci Fi, and Steampunk must.

If you love Steampunk, the Civil War era, science fiction and the macob, and a bit of mystery, you will love Boneshaker. If you can believe in the probable, and not the possible. Subterranean boring machines. Gases from the earth that cause deformities. Airships, zombies, and gadgets reminiscent of the Wild, Wild West. And one of those great endings that is left for you to write for yourself. If you love all of this, you wil love Boneshaker.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting Alternative History Novel

What about Wil Wheaton, and Kate Reading’s performance did you like?

Excellent performance by both narrators. They were both able to set the mood and inject their own enthusiasm for the story into their performances.

Any additional comments?

This is the first alternative history type novel that I've listened to. I wasn't sure if I would take to the genre, but Boneshaker has definately left me ready for more.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Katerina
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 04-26-11

Great Book, Great Readers

This is my first review, but I just have to weigh in to contradict some of the people who have been suggesting that the narration of this book is somehow inferior. Don't believe it. There's room for personal preference, certainly, but both narrators were excellent, and I didn't notice or mind any minor discrepancies in how they voiced some of the overlapping characters. In fact, I thought that both Kate Reading and Wil Wheaton did a great job of bringing their characters to life.


As for the book itself, I loved it. The genre lives in its own category--it isn't really sci fi, it isn't a bookified zombie movie, it isn't history, and there isn't any romance. I haven't read much Steampunk, but I'm guessing this is a pretty good example of it. The city of alternate-history Seattle lives and breathes in the story, almost like one of the characters, and you can't help but fall in love with the hellish place. The characters are realistic and interesting, and the story keeps you wanting more.


I hope you listen and enjoy!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeremy
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 10-29-10

Never finished

The book started out okay, and the switch from male to female narrator was fine with me. The only problem is that as the book moved along, I just lost interest. The characters and their struggle were too generic, and the situation they were in was not explained adequately enough for suspension of disbelief. I'm a big fan of steampunk, so I probably held on longer than someone who might not be into the genre. I figure the last third of a book should keep you hooked, and this one most definitely did not.

Not a bad book by any means, but there are other books out there that better deserve your time.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Should've been Wil Wheaton all the way through

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.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ig
  • ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON, United States
  • 01-09-14

A little underwhelming

Would you try another book from Cherie Priest and/or Wil Wheaton and Kate Reading ?

Probably try it. Maybe the author hits their stride later on. The readers were great.

Any additional comments?

The characters were largely uninteresting and the steam-punk and zombie elements seemed to me like the author had written a late 19th century novel and their publisher asked, "Say... Zombies and steam-punk are big now. Think we could throw some of those in?"

Also the characters were kind of one dimensional. Each of them felt like they could be defined in a single paragraph and a short one at that. No one displayed any complex emotions or ever seemed to be more than just a card-board cut-out of a person.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Denver, Colorado, United States
  • 10-20-13

Hit and Miss

I liked this book, but with some reservations. I am not a fan of the genre (this is my first steampunk and first zombie book), but my mind was open. I felt that the story was good enough and the main characters were believable. I also felt that Kate Reading phoned it in a little (or her accent was just weird) and that Wil Wheaton just didn't click for me. If I were to change something to improve the story I would like for the characters to enter the city sooner and for Mrs Blue to go to the bar immeadiately (so we know by contrast that her son is in deep trouble sooner). Also the Doctor could have twirled his moustache some more, I felt.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Real people and Zombies that support the story

Here's the book that totally turned my mind around about Steampunk. It even had zombies and for once they did not make me yawn.

But in contrast to many other stories this one does not rely on witty comments about stiff Victorian gentlemen or basic romantic plot. Its about family or rather about a mother and her son with a long unspoken history lurking somewhere in the past.

The world, characters and nuances feel very real and plausible. People are actual persons and the absence of absolute good and evil feels very good for a change.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful