Clouds's Reviews > Boneshaker

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
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's review
May 08, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: locus-sci-fi, science-fiction, reviewed, science-fiction-stand-alone, read-in-2012, pub-2000s
Read from July 12 to 18, 2012

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life (so far).

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I save the best part of my dinner until last – savouring the anticipation as much as the taste. Boneshaker (the 2010 winner of the Locus Sci-Fi Award) had the look, to me, of a tasty little treat, so I kept putting it off for as long as I could resist.

Steampunk, zombies and air-pirates. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
When I saw that the text inside is printed in sepia-brown, I thought it was a delightful touch of icing on the cake!

Gushing reviews like this one, from the usually more reserved Jason, didn’t dampen my growing expectations.

We all read a lot of books, hoping to find 'A BOOK'.
Sadly, for me, Boneshaker is just ‘a book’.

Before I start my grumbling, I’d like to acknowledge the many things that Priest does well here:
- The original concept is brilliant
- The book tumbles along at a good pace
- Much of the imagery is strong and memorable
- Several of the supporting characters stand out brightly
(I'm thinking of Swakhammer, Lucy O'Gunning and Fang)

So far, so good?

My first big issue comes with the Mother/Son protagonists (Briar & Zeke). I can’t think of many (view spoiler). As for Briar, she’s got a touch more (view spoiler).

My second issue is the (view spoiler)!

My final gripe made me so mad that when I saw my cats had knocked the book into a bathtub full of water shortly after I’d finished it, I didn’t think “Oh no, my treasured novel has been soaked!” – I thought “Hah! You deserved that!”

There are two major hooks and two minor hooks to pull us towards the climax.(view spoiler)
Frankly, by the end I didn’t care.

I enjoyed the ride – it was a kind of 2.5 for me, and I’m a generous soul so I rounded it up to a 3 – but as I was hoping for a 4, I left Boneshaker sorely disappointed.

ps - I just remembered that (view spoiler) and also that we never get a good (any?) explanation for why (view spoiler) - gah!

After this I read: Elantris
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Reading Progress

07/13/2012 page 62
07/16/2012 page 181
44.0% "Enjoying it but not totally wowed"
07/17/2012 page 256
62.0% "I'm still a touch meh - it's an easy read and it's a fun, quick paced story - but I'm a long way from in love with it."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Catie (new)

Catie Great review. I love the concept of steampunk but so far have been disappointed by all the new wave of Steampunk books that I've tried. Any you can wholeheartedly recommend?

Clouds Sadly, no. Steampunk is still a genre with unfulfilled potential for me. His Dark Materials is still my fave representative.

Best Steampunk experience I've had was actually a science museum special exhibition.

If I'd had money to burn this would have pride of place in my house now:

I've heard good things about Anubis Gate as one of the books that coined the term steampunk - but as you said, not been wowed by the new-wave yet :-)

Carol. Ugh, I was not a fan of Anubis Gate. I think I might have genre incompatibility. Nebula nominatedThe Death of the Necromancer isn't super-steampunky but is the one I've liked the best.

Clouds~lol at the cat action. Oops!

Matthew Hunter I agree with both of you that steampunk can be pretty hit or miss. (I just started Boneshaker, so my verdict's still out on that one.) It tends to skew young adult which is fine and gives worlds of room for creativity. But I've only found a few so far that I've liked. Pullman's His Dark Materials is terrific. And I had a great time with Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. The premise of Darwinists versus Clankers is fun, and it has a strong young heroine. The artwork scattered throughout works really well too. I haven't read the the other two in the series yet, so I can't speak for those yet.

Let me know if you find other good examples of steampunk, okay?

Clouds If the steampunk book I want to read isn't out there... I may just have to write it myself :-)

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