Book Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Let me start by saying that we intended for this to be a joint review. Autumn and I started Boneshaker together but she dropped out five chapters in. I don’t blame her. It had such promise – steampunk and zombies!

Boneshaker takes up 16 years after a disaster has left the city of Seattle quarantined. Survivors live outside the remnants of the city scraping by, boiling down the water multiple times to rid it of the Blight that turned most of Seattle into rotters (zombies). Told from alternating viewpoints, we follow Briar (whose former husband brought about the disaster) and her son, Zeke. Naturally, Zeke has questions about his father but his mother has never answered him. To add fuel to this fire, Briar’s father was a lawman who saved some criminals from lock up when the rotters took over the city. The family has many secrets as do all families at the root of great tragedy.

Zeke slips into the city through access tunnels. When Briar goes after him, she finds the tunnels inaccessible after an earthquake. Never fear, in true steampunk form, she boards an airship. Conveniently, this airship happens to be captain by one of the men her father had saved. From there, the book revolves around Zeke (pursuing his fool’s errand to exonerate his father) and Briar’s attempts to stay alive and reunite. Toss in a mad scientist hoping to take up the mantle of Zeke’s father while running the remnants of downtown Seattle, an underground crew of Chinamen and random others trying to survive in the Blight infested city, and scores of rotters who can climb (what?!) and you have all the components of a brilliant adventure. Or not.

The book starts out SLOW, so slow that Autumn just could not get hooked. I powered through and found a few parts interesting but in the end it just fell flat. There are zombie hoards that keep people running at times but they don’t show up until half way through the book and other than one scene with Briar on the side of a building, their activity was rather underwhelming. Some of the steampunk aspects were interesting but not enough to salvage the story.

The Verdict on Boneshaker

I can’t believe this is a series. The first one nearly bored me to tears.