Maja (The Nocturnal Library)'s Reviews > Boneshaker

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
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Is there anything a mother wouldn’t do to save her son? Even if they are mostly estranged and angry at each other? Would she willingly walk into a place where the air is poisonous and hundreds of zombies roam about?

Of course she would. I would, too.

That’s the choice Briar is forced to make, and it really isn’t a choice at all. Sixteen years ago, Seattle was destroyed by one of her late husband’s inventions, and she became an outcast, a poor, single mother with no one to rely on. From that point on, Briar and her son were lucky when they could cross the street without someone spitting on them for something neither of them played any part in.
Briar’s son Zeke is only sixteen and he’s desperate to clear his father’s name, not knowing that his father really is guilty of turning Seattle into a poisonous prison. And there is no doubt in Briar’s mind, her late husband poisoned the air, flattened the city and created rotters, the zombies. But every boy wants his father to be perfect, so Zeke runs away from home to go to Seattle and prove his father’s innocence.

As much as I enjoyed the (too few) steampunk elements in Boneshaker, what I found most intriguing was the complexity of Briar’s relationship with her teenage son Zeke. I normally dislike situations that stem from lack of communication between characters, but in Boneshaker, their reasons for not sharing secrets with each other were so painful and real that I couldn’t blame Cherie Priest for deciding to write it exactly like that. It is what made these characters truly alive, as if they didn’t exist until they were around each other or thinking about each other. Despite the alternate history setting and all those fantastic inventions, despite the zombies and everything else that was exciting, Briar and Zeke were what really kept me on the edge of my seat. When it comes to character bulding, Cherie Priest is the best psychologist I’ve come across since Ann Aguirre, which is saying something, my friends.

But it appears that everything good comes at a price, and excellent characterization was very pricey indeed. In terms of steampunk, Boneshaker leaves a lot to be desired. I realize I’m very nitpicky when it comes to this sub-genre, but if authors won’t use the endless possibilities it provides, I see no point in writing it at all. The steampunk bits did not blow me away like they did in Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and I expected more from Priest language-wise, to be honest. Still, keep in mind that Boneshaker won the 2010 Locus Award for Science-Fiction, so this is probably just me being unreasonable and difficult. I get like that sometimes, just ask my siblings. :)

Although Boneshaker didn’t leave me completely satisfied, I am intrigued and eager to read the next book in this series.



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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz So much of what you read is on my TBR pile, thank you for a great review!


message 3: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz Of course it also occurred to me that YOU are part of the reason FOR my TBR list ;) thanks for the friend request!


Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I bet you'll be to blame for quite a few on mine soon enough. :))


Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton I think there was a lot of potential with Boneshaker, but the execution left me wanting. Great ideas still need good story telling.


Maja (The Nocturnal Library) My thoughts exactly, Daniel! Hopefully the next book will be a bit better.


Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton Maja wrote: "My thoughts exactly, Daniel! Hopefully the next book will be a bit better."

Have you started the next book? I know it's out, but if a first in a trilogy fails for me, I hardly ever get to the second.


Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Not yet, I need to get a copy soon. :)


Miriam I liked the second book less :(


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