Friday, November 25, 2011

Books read in Chincoteague (4 of 7): Boneshaker

or once, the cover blurb is entirely accurate: "A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure[!]" Really, what more do you need to know? And yet, the characters in Cherie Priest's Boneshaker do go a bit deeper than that. They have emotional needs, frailities, a search for a father and role model, a last hope for lost love, an avoidance of kinship at the same time as a frantic search for the same. Not to mention attempts to understand another culture, come to terms with a violent history and guilt (over the same), and yes, the book contains a map.

In the desolate wastes of an alternate Seattle it's every man for himself, except when he feels the need to assuage his guilty soul by coming to a comrade's aid, but it's also all men against the undead, the darkness, without and within. Things can be simple and full of comaraderie in a society with a common enemy. And yet, men and women turn against each other in order to save themselves, to avoid or fight their inner demons, always always putting the self first, for there is very little true altruism in the world.

The book was pretty good, a fascinating and light frolic through a fledgling universe with some mystery thrown in along the way. The steampunk aspects are not obnoxiously overwhelming, but the "blight" victims (the zombie hordes) seem a little gratuitous (I think this is pretty much always the case with the undead). At four hundred fourteen reasonably dense pages, I could have gone for a lot more detail of the world and development of some of the characters' relationships. I'm told there are further developments to be had in subsequent novels.

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