Nikki 's Reviews > Boneshaker

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
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's review
Mar 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: speculative-fiction, historical-fiction-alternatehistory, zombies, steampunk
Read from October 17 to 25, 2010

I'm vacillating between giving Boneshaker three and four stars. It mostly fell down for me for very, very subjective reasons -- liberal use of a trope I'm not fond of -- although there's also a bit of a problem with the pacing. In places it worked very well: beautifully tense and exciting. But after a while, the sneaking and hiding wears on you. It's like watching a movie consisting of nothing but scenes in which the characters crawl through tunnels. No matter how well-shot those scenes are, it gets boring.

The trope that irritated me was the trope of 'they just missed each other'. Briar and Zeke could have met several times before they actually do, and while that might have shortened the book if they hadn't missed each other, I'm not sure that would have been a bad thing. Still, that's one of my pet peeves. It always reminds me of romantic comedies, which invariably make me want to beat my head against whatever's convenient (and I got dragged to a fair number as a teenager).

I also wasn't terribly pleased with Zeke. He ran when he should have stayed still, and stayed still when he should've been running. I know that he wasn't psychic and doesn't know what the reader knows, but even early on, Rudy is obviously not the kind of guy he should be running with. You take what you can get, I guess, but...

I was much more impressed with Briar. An older, working class single mother, kicking so much ass. She doesn't make the same stupid decisions as Zeke, so she's a lot easier to sympathise with. She's not perfect, no, but she does what she thinks is right.

The setting is well done -- quite vivid, and oddly realistic despite the fact that, yeah, it's full of zombies. It's not the most convincing explanation, I guess -- gas that creates the living dead? -- but it's not too necessary, either. The whole thing with Minnericht... I called it, to some extent: I guessed why Briar was so sure about who he was (or, rather, wasn't). I liked it, though.

I enjoyed Boneshaker, yeah, but I'm not in a tearing hurry to read the other two books set in the same world.
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Reading Progress

13.0% "Didn't quite intend to start reading this, but once I had, I didn't want to put it down. I like that one of the main characters is a poor working class mother, in effect. Not something you see often."
23.0% "Definitely enjoying this. More Briar's parts than Zeke's. I want to know more about the Boneshaker, but this is a trilogy so I'm not anticipating the revelations coming too swiftly."
41.0% "Didn't read for a few days there, but I'm back on it now, I think. The running/sneaking is good, and I have hopes that it's about to get somewhere a bit more than that, now."
57.0% "I'd like less running and sneaking, by this point, and more plot. And I don't like the whole "missed each other by a hair" trope that seems to be going on with Zeke and Briar."
70.0% "Well, it's clear where this is going. Too clear. I don't trust anything right now."
83.0% "I really don't like Zeke that much. Instead of thinking he's brave, I think he's dumb. He stays when he should run and runs when he should stay. I know he's not psychic, but... Briar is managing fine!"
100.0% "Yeah, called that. There was no other way for Briar to be so sure."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I had a huge problem with the pace. A book with airships and zombies shouldn't be such a slog. Briar was definitely the best part of this book.

message 2: by Nikki (last edited Oct 25, 2010 10:33AM) (new) - added it

Nikki There are parts where the sneaking and hiding worked, but it definitely got old. We had to read it all twice, too: Briar and Zeke.

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