Summary

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice.
Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born. But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.
Now it is 16 years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history. His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.
©2009 Cherie Priest (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
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Critic reviews

"Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ian David Burrell on 15-07-11

Steampunk Adventure

Well I really listened to it rather than read it. An exciting roller-coaster ride full of gunfights, dirigibles, infernal machines and zombies. But not only that, rounded characters you really care about. A perfect steampunk adventure.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Beccameriel on 20-03-14

Not your average steam punk heroine

This is great. The heroine, Briar, is a single mother in her 30s determinedly setting out to find her missing teenage son, Zeke, in a "rotter" zombie ravaged 19th century Seattle full of poisonous "blight" gas and under the sway of a sinister doctor who may or may not be someone she knows.

Zeke is trying to find out the truth about his father and Briar is pretty close mouthed about what she knows throughout. Refreshingly, there is no romantic storyline tacked on for Briar or Zeke just people who help them or who don't. Both main characters are believable in their motivations and reactions to events.

I like the sharing of narration between 2 readers for Briar's and Zeke's chapters and they both do a find job at it: Wil Wheaton capturing the slightly whiny adolescent tone of Zeke and Kate Reading, Briar's weary but determined voice.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Tracey on 14-02-13

Doesn't live up to potential

I thought I would LOVE this book -- I mean, zombies, steampunk (with Zeppelins), what's not to like? Well, I guess a strong narrative and plot would have helped. Also, I never really felt engaged to any of the characters and kept hoping they would stumble across some zombies to add a bit of zest.
The performance, for the most part, is well done, although when the 2 primary characters come together, it becomes a bit confusing (as we have become used to Wil reading Zeke's lines and Kate reading Briars's spots, so it takes some getting used to as they read chapters without regard to who is speaking.)

Overall, I recommend a pass on this book unless you just rally love Steampunk.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Michael G Kurilla on 01-04-18

Steampunk zombies in the Pacific Northwest

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker offers an interesting fusion of steampunk and zombies. Set in the Pacific Northwest during an alternate civil war historical era, gold rush fever creates a unique situation where a Russian inspired drilling machine, the Boneshaker, results in a poison gas no man's land where zombie like creatures roam. A teenage boy anxious to clear his father's name heads into the area with his mother in hot pursuit. The two of them experience unique adventures as they discover a nascent economy struggling to survive as the tale shifts back and forth between their perspectives.

The tale is classic steampunk with a super-duper steam powered drilling machine creating all the mayhem that is still unsettled over a decade later. The poison gas released by the machine creates zombie-like crazed humans, while the gas itself can be distilled to a powerful drug that drives normal human involvement with the region. Air ships are evolved as expensive, but routine modes of transportation as well as implements of warfare. Along the way, there are other mechanical devices such as prosthetic limbs, gas masks, and sound incapacitating devices. Ultimately, this is a mother-son tale with a mother hiding a dark secret and her son searching for the truth.

The choice of dual narrators was wise as the story alternates between the mother and son's viewpoints. Both narrators are quiet good with good character distinction. Pacing and tone are well aligned with the overall plot development.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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