Saturday, July 3, 2010

Zombies, Airships, and a little of the old Ultra-violence

Steampunk is still a relatively new concept, but not a totally green idea. For the video game players, you look to Bioshock for a healthy dose of Steampunk reality. It's an 1800's grit with a combination of Age of Steam technology and 2100's mechanics. Think Ray Gun meets Grandfather clock... well, maybe that doesn't help. Just take a look at this beauty from Weta! It's an interesting concept of history-future fusion that would be best explained by the experts than little ol' me.

Boneshaker takes us into an alternate history where the Kondike gold rush sends prospective scientists into a technology frenzy attempting to create the best and only way to dig through solid ice to get to a large quantity of gold. One of those inventions happens to be a massive drill that somehow wrecks havoc in downtown Seattle. Not only does that destroy the banking sector, but also releases some type of underground gas that turns the inhabitants that come into contact with it, into the walking dead. Just so you know, this is all off the back cover of the book. I prefer to give nothing away if I can help it. So fast forward a little more than a decade and we have the widow of the blamed scientist going after their son who has gone into the ruined city in search of the truth about his father.

Cherie Priest, the author, did an excellent job in bringing everything promised in the back leaf synopsis into the book. The world feels run down; the people grimy and out of sorts. You get a sense for the real lack of dreams that this city contains. In that, I really enjoyed her writing style and how you do get a sense of where each person will eventually stand. I did have one problem with the book. It felt a little disjointed going through the first 2/3 to 3/4. You do a lot of jumping around between your protagonists - it felt that in almost every chapter Priest was going to the next character and then back again. It didn't really detract from the story, but maybe the switch-up could have felt a little more consistent. BUT, this could also be a bias from my normal book choices. I tend toward the epics, and I believe that you'll probably have a good amount of authors doing the exact same thing as Priest with the amount of content they're working with. It's a minor problem to me, but nothing that will take away from the story. For me, the disjointedness was all made up for in the last quarter of the book. The climax and conclusion do come a little quick, but the action and direction to get you there are exceptional for the story. My suspicions on what happened were justified and where/how the protagonists ended up was where they should have been. I maybe could have used a few more airships too.... Final Fantasy ruined me for the fancy of it.

For those that are looking at this book, I would tell you that it is definitely work picking up. It's going to fit snuggly into my collection between World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's not a terribly difficult book to read. I imagine it's well above anything written by Stephanie Meyer and somewhere below Stephen King.... not too far, King can be a little awkward in his style once in a while. Oh, any my favourite line from the book? 

"Boys are boys, they are. They're useless and ornery as can be, and when they grow up they're even worse."

Rating: 6.98 CBs - I can't judge a book solely based on how long it took me to read, but this one went pretty quick. I started reading last Friday and finished up around Wednesday. That was amongst having other obligations during that time, and picking up the next Robert Jordan novel..... I'm sorry, I couldn't help it! All in all, I would say that I spent three days reading with about 100-120 pages done in the last day. It'll keep you interested, for sure.



  1. I've heard people complain about George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice an Fire series feeling disjointed because he does chapters by character as well. Is it like that?

    This is high on my list of books that I want. I haven't read any steampunk either but I can't wait to. The Windup Girl is also on my list of steampunk I want to read!

    Thanks for your review. It definitely has convinced me that I need to give the book a try.

  2. Hey Carin,

    I think it's well worth purchasing. Cherie does jump back and forth during the first 3/4s of the book between the two main protagonists. My fave author, does a similar thing but over a few chapters at at time. It's not a deterrent though.

    I'll take a look at the Windup Girl, and I'm real tempted to pick up her other book Four and Twenty Blackbirds as well as her new Steampunk novel Dreadnought. She's been added to the small list of authors I read.