Thursday, March 03, 2011

Boneshaker-Spoiler Free Book Review

Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, is a steampunk novel.  Full disclosure:  This is only my second purely steampunk novel and while I love the steampunk cosplayers, I am not to hot on the literary sub genre. 

Boneshaker was a Hugo nominee.  My thought after learning that was "why?"  I mean, don't get me wrong, it was entertaining enough, but I don't think it is the best representative of great science fiction writing and may not be the best example in the steampunk sub genre. 

Plot-  It is steampunk so there has to be air ships and it has to take place in the 17 or 1800's.  Check on both accounts.   Seatle is a walled city.  A digging apperatus, the titles namesake, has burrowed beneath the city and released a poison gas.  For whatever reason a 200ft wall is built around the perimeter of the city to keep the gas in.  16 years later the wife of the man that releases that gas must return to the city in order to rescue her son that went in looking for answers. 

Characters-  The mother character is Briar- She is the most fleshed out character and the most likeable as well.  Her son, Zeke, isn't really likeable at all.  Sometimes I wondered why Brior is saving him at all.  I think Priest meant to write an unlikable character here though as it would give him room to grow (this happens a little, but. . .)  Most of the secondary characters don't get much more than a cursory backgroung, which is a shame, as I would love to know why they want to live inside the walled city. 

Overall it is an entertaining book with plot holes that you could drive cars through.  It comes across more as a book written to capatalize on current trends than as a book by someone with a passion for those trends.  Read this book for its strong female characters as it does have those.  I would recommend this book to they YA crowd as it strikes me in that vein.  History buffs need to stay away from all things steampunk as they do a lot of playing with history.  Science people will need to suspend disbelief on a pretty regular basis as well.  It was a light read.
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2 comments:

The Golden Eagle said...

For a moment I thought this was related to the steampunk novel Worldshaker, because of the title and cover, but I guess not. :P

Thanks for the review!

Pat Tillett said...

If it was illustrated, I'd probably give it a go...