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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Genre: Steam Punk

Setting: A Steam Punk version of Seattle.

First Sentence: Unpaved, uneven trails pretended to be roads; they tied the nation's coasts together like laces holding a boot, binding it with crossed strings and crossed fingers.

In her novel Priest has brought Steam Punk to the Pacific Northwest.  Here we have all the classic elements of this genre: a toxic poisonous fog, the ravenous undead rotters, evil geniuses, and advanced machinery powered by coal, oil, electricity, and steam.

Sixteen years ago, Briar Wilkes was a very young bride married to Dr. Lividicus Blue.  Dr. Blue was an inventor.  He was hired by the Russians to design an excavating machine capable of reaching gold buried deep under the frozen tundra of the Yukon.  Dr. Blue invented the Boneshaker.  On its initial test run, Dr. Blue's invention unleashed a poisonous chemical cloud from deep within the earth: the blight gas. 

The blight gas is lethal to most.  Those who do not die are doomed to become rotters.  Rotters are undead beings whose minds are only focused on finding living flesh to consume.

In order to contain the gas, huge walls were built to surround the areas most affected by the gas.  Incredibly, there are people who have found a way to survive within the walls.

Dr. Blue is blamed for the destruction his machine caused.  For years his wife and their son have had to live with his tarnished reputation.

Now Briar's fifteen year old son, Zeke, wants to find out the truth about his father.  So he finds a way under the wall and into the toxic, dangerous city.  When Briar discovers where Zeke has gone, she too finds her way over the wall.

Can Briar save her son from the dangers of the walled in city?

Will Zeke discover the truth about his father?

I liked this book.  Priest has a writing style that is easy to read.  I enjoyed all of the interesting characters that the author used to people her steam punk Seattle.

If you are a fan of steam punk,  I encourage you to check out this American version of the genre.

Only one complaint: the edition of the novel which I read was printed in sepia ink.  The tan letters were a strain on these sixty year old eyes.


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