Willem van den Oever's Reviews > Dreadnought

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
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's review
Aug 01, 2012

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bookshelves: adventure, science-fiction-fantasy, in-english

With ‘Boneshaker’, writer Cherie Priest created a whole world all for herself, in which many of the events that shaped the United States as we now know it, turned out differently. The Civil War lasted much longer then history has taught us, the Southern States are winning and with the Klondike gold rush, a terrible incident took place which destroyed most of the city of Seattle. Against this backdrop of alternate history, Priest told the tale of a young mother desperately searching for her missing son in a town overrun with zombies.
In what she has labeled the Clockwork Century series, Priest created the ultimate playground for any young writer. A world in which anything goes, where there are no boundaries or limitations; and in which every writing fantasy - whether it be about zombies, pirates, science fiction or war stories – could take place.

With ‘Dreadnought’, she returns to that world, but wisely steps away from the town of Seattle in which the first story took place. If anything is possible, the main characters or locations of a previous book shouldn’t weigh one down either.
So in that way, ‘Dreadnought’ has become a stand-alone novel. This time, the story focuses on Mercy Lynch, a nurse working for a Confederate hospital when she receives news that her estranged father is severally hurt and wishes to see her. Right in the middle of the ever-continuing Civil War, Mercy has to travel by airship, boat and train across the war-ravaged country in order to honor her daddy’s last wish.

Having the story driven forward – literally – with a cross-country journey, the reader finally gets to realize how big Cherie’s Clockwork world can be. ‘Dreadnought’’s scope is enormous. Everything has that distinct feeling of seeming familiar, like it is “just another war story”; yet being totally weird and different as well, once the advanced technology marches, rolls and blasts into view.
Priest’s writing skills have greatly improved since the previous installment. Here, she feels totally in control of her world and her characters, and the story generally has a much more confident feel to it, so everything jumps off the page in all its magic and madness.
The plot of ‘Dreadnought’ isn’t the strongest aspect of this book – the strong emotional core which ‘Boneshaker’ had with the bond between Briar and Zeke is lacking here. Mercy is as strong a female protagonist as Briar is, Priest knows how to write those. But because she is so estranged from her father and doesn’t know how to think of him anymore, the urgency to get to him doesn’t come across. So getting from point A to point B really is all there seems to be for the first half of the book, until the action can kick in. After that, the story becomes simply a hell of a lot of fun and the chapters fly by thanks to ‘Dreadnought’’s steam powered engine.

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Reading Progress

August 1, 2012 – Shelved
August 27, 2012 – Started Reading
August 28, 2012 –
page 121
September 3, 2012 –
page 293
September 8, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: adventure
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: science-fiction-fantasy
September 16, 2012 – Shelved as: in-english

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