Cassy's Reviews > Boneshaker

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
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This was my first foray into steampunk – unless Golden Compass counts. This may not be my genre. I am willing to keep going for a book or two, but the prospects are poor. And according to the clerk at the bookstore, Soulless must be my next read.

I was on the fence about reading this one. It was officially on my to-read list, but the ho-hum reviews were making me doubt the placement. Then I heard Cherie Priest was coming to a local bookstore, Murder by the Book (great name, right?) in a week. I thought “better now rather than later”.

Now I’ve read it. My feelings are best conveyed by shrugging my shoulders. It reminds me of young adult fiction: action at the expense of everything else. Good ideas get lost. Characters are encouragingly introduced, but never developed. There is no grander picture or underlying meaning. It is just a bit of fun. Sadly, it wasn't exactly my type of fun and I felt bored at times. To her credit, however, I did very much like the alternate world she created. And I marked a few pages for good descriptions.

Let’s move on to the good stuff: meeting Cherie Priest. The book earned an extra star due to these fond memories. Honestly, she was more entertaining than her book.

She was completely unscripted, which was awesome. She stood in front of thirty people and gossiped/joked/rambled for over an hour. She didn’t have notes or a plan. She didn’t read from her latest release. She talked about her mom’s crazy religious ideas. She made big gestures with her hands and talked too fast. She would lose her place mid-sentence and just start talking about something else. She wondered out aloud why her supermodel friend’s parents are so plain-looking. She was momentarily distracted when the store dog snored behind her (“The dog just snored behind me!”). In short, she was endearing.

She talked candidly about how Boneshaker (with its great cover artwork) revived her career. She was under contract with Tor for four books. Her first three Southern Gothic Eden Moore books began as a mediocre success and then went downhill. She believes she could have sold more copies of Not Flesh Nor Feathers from the trunk of her car. She was certain Tor would drop her after the fourth book and was considering taking up a pen name for a fresh start. She took offense to some snobby, online comments that only the British could write steampunk because only the British had class issues, colonialism, an industrial revolution, wars, and so forth. She took up the challenge. She thought about how the American Civil War could be been dragged out if this happened, then this, and then that. Think of the new technologies that might have been created! Her editor had Cherie drop a vampire book in progress and devote her attention to this new idea.

Nowadays, she has plans to keep writing in her alternate Clockwork Century world, including books set in New Orleans, Florida, and Washington DC. She would love to solve the Seattle problem one day. She has other projects too: collaborating with George R. R. Martins(!), her new book about an OCD vampire Bloodshot, and so forth. She is a ball of energy.

She also explained why the connector book, Clementine is so hard to find: Tor didn’t want it. If she kept the book short, she could get around her contract with Tor and publish with her employer, Subterranean. They didn’t print enough initially. Cherie joked even she wouldn’t pay the $150 e-bay price for Clementine. There are now plans to print more.

As usual, the best thing about meeting an author is that it helps me to better understand the tone of their books. Remember I wrote that Boneshaker was all action action action? I realized while listening to Cherie talk and crack jokes that she is okay with that. She wants to have fun. She likes throwing outrageous ideas together just because she can. More power to her. But I am moving on.
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Reading Progress

November 12, 2009 – Shelved
February 16, 2011 – Started Reading
February 17, 2011 –
page 89
21.39% "Despite the so-so reviews, it has held my attention thus far."
February 20, 2011 – Finished Reading

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

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie You might try The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith. It is about a Robin Hood vampire in an alternate history setting: action, suspense, slow build of relationships, and the vampires are evil. Very refreshing. Furthermore, it is light on the steampunk. This story may ease you into the genre.

Cassy Thank you for the recommendation, Katie! I enjoy classic science fiction and fantasy novels. So, it is puzzling that I am having trouble with the steampunk and paranormal genres. I really want to like them. Maybe I need more transitional books such as the one you mentioned.

BrinStardust Avalon Revisited by O.M Grey was fantastic, & my first Steampunk read. I tell everyone to read it if they're looking to try out the genre. Soulless, however, really is hilarious. Have fun!

Cassy Thanks, Vegacula! I'll definitely check these out.

Julia Booktree Lady Soulless by Gail Carriger was one of my favorite recent pickups. I actually went on to read all five books. You may want to be careful with it, as it is kind of silly and light hearted.

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