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Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) Paperback – 10 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Original edition (10 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318411
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.8 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 434,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace and sweeping proportions, full of wonderfully gnarly details. This book is made of irresistible . It totally pushed all my buttons.--Scott Westerfeld, bestselling author of Uglies and Peeps"

Book Description

"A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace and sweeping proportions . . . This book is made of irresistible" Scott Westerfeld --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Cheesecake (The Eloquent Page) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
If I'm being one hundred percent honest, I have to hold up my hands and say initially, I found Boneshaker by Cherie Priest a difficult book to read. Now before all you Priest fans form a steam-powered lynch mob and head toward my house with burning torches, let me take a moment to explain and hopefully this will calm your anger.

This situation doesn't happen often, in fact I can remember exactly the last time this issue did occur. When I started reading Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, I often had to read pages four or five times before I understood what was going on. (That admission is made all the more embarrassing by the fact I'm Scottish, but I digress.)

I stress that the fault is most definitely with the reader, in both cases, not the writer. Like Welsh, Priest has written something that delivers on many levels but in order to get the most from the story, the reader must allow the novel to command their full attention.

Once I had the opportunity to sit down and properly concentrate on the novel, I was blown away by how gripping it was. Over the last couple of years I have read a fair amount of `steampunk' and I enjoy the genre, it always seems to offer endless possibilities. Boneshaker is a fantastic example and very effectively captures the pioneering spirit of America in the 19th century. I have to admit I was also pleased that there were zombies or in this case rotters thrown into the mix as well.

Set fifteen years after a man-made disaster, Seattle has become a no go area surrounded by a huge wall. The city has suffered at the hands of the Boneshaker, a huge drill that destroyed buildings and released a toxic Blight upon the unsuspecting citizenry. This deadly gas kills and then re-animates those that suffer prolonged exposure.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sophie Playle on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Surprisingly, the detailed blurb for this book doesn't give much away. Most of that background info is crammed into the first couple of pages. It is presented as an extract from a historical novel, which one of the characters is writing.

This character, Hale Quarter, is one of the first people we come across in chapter one. We see the world from a mixture of his and Briar's point-of-view. Then, Quarter disappears, and doesn't reappear again in the novel. Not a particularly smooth introduction to the story.

The novel is structured with two dominant view points: Briar and Zeke. Each have their own chapters. Briar's chapters are illustrated with a pair of goggles at the beginning, and Zeke's chapters with a gas lamp. A nice touch.

I felt Priest painted Briar's character quite well. Her history, her flaws, made her more human. However, she boarded on the stereotypical 'mother who will stop at nothing' to save her child.

Zeke, on the other hand, was an incredibly annoying character. He is meant to be an older teenager, but acts more like a ten or eleven year old. He lacks a sense of maturity, and his thoughts are simple. Often, he comes across as rather dumb, and I felt almost completely unsympathetic towards him.

Whereas Briar has a much more active stance in moving the plot forward, Zeke is lead around by others, making him passive and quite boring.

All four-hundred pages of the book take place within a few days. And this slow pace often takes its toll. The action scenes are well executed and exciting, but the spaces between them are often bogged down with unnecessary description, bantering, and time-fillers. It seems to me that there is no real control over the contours of action and suspense.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 April 2014
Format: Paperback
I bought this book some while back and it has been sitting on my TBR pile for quite some time. Deciding that I wanted to put my feet up with something entertaining and enjoyable I decided to give this a go. Ultimately though I found this was just an okay book, the kind of thing that you may read over a weekend and then promptly forget about as you dump it in the bag for the charity shop.

I thought that there would be more action in places than there really was and this just really turned into a story of a mother looking for her son who had gone into the walled city mentioned in the blurb on the back cover. Obviously this is an alternative history novel and Seattle has been changed to write this, and I had no problem with that, it is just that this seemed rather clichéd and similar to many another tale, although not as good as some.

So on the whole if you are looking for just some average escapism then this will fit the bill, but if you are looking for something that will make you sit up and want to tell others about the great book you have just read, then this isn't it. There are much better Steampunk books on the market, but by the same token, there are also much worse.
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Format: Paperback
Review - Boneshaker by Cherie Priest - 5/5 stars

I received this book as a gift. I wanted to try a bit of steampunk again, and this was happily waiting on my bookshelf.

The beginning was a bit slow, I confess. The author starts us from the ground up, which is a good way to start, and teaches us about the two main characters: Briar Wilkes and her son Zeke, who have a bit of history in the story. Briar tended to procrastinate a few times, clearly avoiding discussing some sensitive family matters with her son.

It turns out the main characters have a direct connection to the Boneshaker machine. The Boneshaker machine caused quite an incident in Seattle, unleashing a gas called the Blight, which turns humans into the undead. Seattle is walled off from the rest of civilization.

I must say the author did a very good job introducing steampunk technologies to the reader, and ensured there was a very good reason for their presence. For example, gas masks are worn to ensure people are not infected by the Blight gas, and the subsequent isolation in Seattle and the scavenging of a local inventor leads to new/steampunk technologies.

There was a lot happening in this book. There were many interesting characters and the main two characters sped through a lot of non-stop action.

I'd recommend this book to anybody who likes steampunk. The ending was good, and although unexpected, it didn't really overawe me. However the gradual build-up of the truth between mother and son is definitely enjoyable and makes the rest of the story an intriguing read.
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