Monday, June 7, 2010

Boneshaker

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

This, my dear friends, this is what I call a great book. With its brand new take on the zombie apocalypse, amazing characters and a refreshingly original plotline, it has everything a book needs to be good, grand, a must read.

Do you think you ever encountered a kickass female character? Yeah, so have I. But Briar, one of the main characters, sets all new standards for “kickass”. She is the wife of the deceased, evil scientist who brought the zombie plague upon mankind, she lives in the slums of Seattle, she works all day in a disgusting factory, yet still somehow manages to raise her son alone and not go completely crazy from the stress. Then, when her son Zeke runs off to meet the zombies and she has to retrieve him, she does everything, and I mean everything, in her power to find him. She has an incredible background that is very detailed, and her character is extremely consistent throughout the book.

As my friend (the one who lent me this book) said so well, don’t mess with an angry mom looking for her boy.

The background story of Briar, her father and her husband was only very slowly explained, subtly revealing a few parcels of information every two chapters or so. It was detailed and added a whole lot of suspense to the novel, and contributed to keep me hooked. Sadly, I had more or less guessed rather important parts of the story in the first few pages of the book. I hate to admit it, but some parts of the subplots were immensely predictable, while other ones were so far-fetched I’d never have guessed it, since there weren’t any clues at all to let one even try to guess. This made for a somewhat irregular book at times, but overall, it was great.

Since the very first pages, I was hooked. It kept me reading almost constantly, to the detriment of my rather urgent schoolwork (unlike Beautiful Creatures, which was a slow and very painful read).

The whole concept of a gas that turns people into zombies (called rotters in this novel), and not the bite of a zombie, was excellent. I also liked how it was a very heavy gas, and could therefore be contained in a bowl-like city, with hundred-foot tall walls to keep the gas inside. The zombies themselves were always wonderfully described, and even I was ever so slightly disgusted by their appearance.

Also, the action scenes were memorable, and always realistic and very well written. I absolutely loved how well the weapons were described, too, and all the innovative ones that were created by characters of the book.

In my opinion, there was only one major drawback: historically speaking, the city of Seattle, with its buildings and numerous populations, where the story takes place, didn’t concord with what truly happened in our world. Though I understand the reasons for which the author did this, I would’ve preferred something more accurate.

Boneshaker is a remarkable book that all zombie-lovers out there should most certainly read. But liking zombies isn’t necessarily a must, since its rich characters, plot, and story can hook anyone. Its steam punk feel is also a definite plus. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fun and intelligent read, and anyone who likes action and adventure alike.

-Aithen
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Rating: 8,8/10

1 comment:

  1. I've never read a zombie book, but it looks good!

    ReplyDelete

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