years ago, an inventor’s project went horribly wrong, turning the frontier city
of Seattle, Washington Territory into a choking wasteland of undead. Thousands died, and thousands more
found themselves the citizens of a new Seattle, the outskirts of a city that
was walled up to keep the poisonous Blight gas out.
Everything has pretty much settled down to an idea of normal. Until the past comes creeping into Briar
Wilkes’ life, and she finds herself reliving those terrible momets in order to save the life
of her son, who has gone back into the walled-up city in search of some clue
about what really happened that day sixteen years ago.
Boneshaker is a rollicking adventure,
with a memorable cast of characters.
The people whom Briar and her son Zeke meet inside the walls of Seattle
all have memorable voices and idiosyncrasies, making this novel not just
another novel with 200 pages of “things happened” and then the big reveal, but
an actual journey for both mother and son, and an exploration of the variety of
human nature. The society that
Priest has created beneath the poison gas leaves plenty of room for the reader
to imagine other stories happening right alongside Briar’s, and an entire
unknown history inside the walls that no one living outside ever could have
Boneshaker contains a strong mother and
son relationship that is just as much a part of the story as Zeke’s journey to
learn about his past; it isn’t just a way to get both characters inside the
walls and then forgotten about when the adventure starts. Boneshaker
is a well-plotted story that will keep readers hooked until the end, and
then wanting more. Though Priest
uses well-known character types to complete her cast, she rounds them out in
ways that make them matter, both to this story and as people in their own
stories. Throw in airships, fantastic inventions, and a badass one-armed woman, and this is a definitely not a forgettable novel.
Boneshaker is recommended for readers
who enjoy steampunk or American West alt-history. Those who like adventure science fiction will enjoy the
fantastic technology along with the plot that almost never stops. Readers who enjoy period science
fiction or fantasy will find much to love in Priest’s well-researched nod to
the Gold Rush and American frontier periods. This is part of a loosely connected series that continues in
the American Civil War era.