Here we go! 5/100! Do be aware that I spoil things so if you have any plans of reading this book YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Author: Cherie Priest
Do you remember when you were young and you had all the time in the world to read? You would burn through a book a day or at least multiple books a week. Up until college that was me. I would devour books. But then I got to college and had to read for my livelihood and it kind of sucked the fun out of reading. When you have to slog through novels that are described as “labyrinthine” in every review ever written about them and then write a thesis you kind of want to never read again ever. What happened to those days lost reading Harry Potter and Tamora Pierce and Patricia C. Wrede? What happened to me? I used to go into libraries and pick four books off a shelf and read them in a week.
After a B.A. in English Textual Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing, let me tell you, I was no longer hip to the whole reading for fun thing. For a while I gorged myself on hundreds of thousands of words of smutty fanfiction because you know what? I got exactly what I was looking for. You read the tags and you get what is on the label – feels, happy ending, smut.
And then a coworker recommended a series to me written by Cherie Priest. I smiled politely and told him to send me the files and groaned as I knew this was another set of books that I was NEVER going to read. But then I started Boneshaker and I haven’t stopped. The magic is back and I am so excited and relieved!
So let me tell you about Boneshaker. This book, and the rest of the series, are set in a steampunk speculative historical Civil War Era U.S.A. premised around a lot of cool what-ifs? What if the Civil War wasn’t only four years? What if the Civil War stretched on past a decade? What if some mad scientist, while trying to create a gold-digging machine for the Russians, rent a massive hole in the Earth that released a gas that turned humans into zombies?
Welcome to the world of Boneshaker and late 19th century U.S.A. where Seattle has been surrounded by walls hundreds of feet tall to keep in the zombies and the gas that turned them into flesh-eating monsters. Told through two different points of view, it is a harrowing tale of adventure, horror, and love. It’s barely post-apocalyptic, more like peri-apocalyptic with a cast of characters so rich and diverse that I think most people could find someone with which to relate.
Our first main character is the daughter of hero and the widow of a villain, and her son is out to prove that both his grandfather and father were heroes. His quest puts them both in peril, but ultimately brings them closer together as a truth that was never spoken before is eventually revealed.
I know I sound vague, but I WANT YOU TO READ IT TO! And then you need to write me ALL THE FANFICTION! I haven’t even gone snooping around to see what people have been writing about this series because I am on the FOURTH BOOK and am loving it.
Let me list the things I love:
The characters – wide and varied cast with three very strong and prominent female characters who completely steal the show. The son is not too whiny and annoying that you want to chuck him off a cliff, but stubborn and pigheaded enough to believe that he is a teenage boy. They are also NOT BEAUTIFUL AND SHINY AND PERFECT AND GORGEOUS! SCORE!
The Setting/Worldbuilding – Cherie Priest does a phenomenal job putting you in the world and making you believe it.
The Pacing – never a dull moment, always turning a page to see what happens next, always a twist coming, something you didn’t expect, or expected, but had been waiting oh-so-patiently for the reveal THAT WAS SO WORTH IT
The Prose – she has a few tics here and there that my snobby MFA side tweaks at a little bit, but she writes well and she writes tight. She doesn’t err into purple prose and she isn’t overly dramatic.
I could go on, but I want you to stop reading this and start reading Cherie Priest! I hope you find yourself as excited and happy as I was. It took me back to the summers I spent under the dining room table drinking tea and reading with my sister.