Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest (2009)

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1)There is an omnipresent sense of doom and dread that follows the pages of BONESHAKER as mother and son Briar and Zeke struggle to find one another and survive inhuman-like horrors as they each make their way through a post apocalyptic Seattle circa late 1800’s.  

Steampunk, zombies, and survival horror interlock with what turns out to be a family drama of sorts with the main characters on a path to self discovery, unearthed secrets, and rekindled bonds.

Briar is the target of torment and ridicule. Her deceased husband the harbinger of the post apocalyptic Seattle walled off from the outer community thanks to a drilling machine dubbed the ‘Boneshaker’. The powerful piece of equipment is thought to have been the cause of a poisonous gas escaping from deep beneath earth turning people into zombies and eroding buildings and all manner of life. Since escaping, she, and her teenage son have had to endure a constant stream of hateful bullying-like behaviour from the other survivors.  Zeke decides to search for the truth, something that will exonerate his father and grandfather’s name – he heads over the wall from torment to hell itself.

I love the concept of BONESHAKER though did struggle to get my head around steampunk. Personally, the story would’ve worked better in a modern day setting where the sort of technology mentioned in the novel could actually seem plausible. That said, Priest did a good job at fleshing out all the contraptions and their uses/design.

The plot itself was pretty straight forward and essentially turns out to be a story of a mother and son rekindling their relationship with the son finding out the truth behind their taunting and way of life and the mother breaking free of her silence. Throw in some zombies and other interesting bits and pieces along the way and it becomes a dark and dangerous read.

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