Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest


Although it was a slow starter, Boneshaker was worth getting through the first 50 pages or so. After that this steampunk, historical fiction, sci-fi adventure really took off. It's the early days of the Civil War in the United States, and rumors of gold in the Klondike (Alaska) have brought hordes of eager prospectors to the PNW seeking their fortune. Of course, the Russians have their eye on the prize across the pond as well, and they contract inventor Leviticus Blue to make a machine that can drill through the frozen ices. Things go bad when Blue's machine, Boneshaker, goes out of control on an unplanned drilling spree through Seattle's underground, releasing the Blight, a noxious gas that turns people into the undead. A wall is built to enclose the area and Leviticus Blue disappears. Sixteen years later, his widow Briar and son Ezekiel are eking out a living in the Outskirts, and Ezekiel decides it's time to find out more about his legendary father. He puts on a mask and heads for the wall, and that's where the story begins. An innovative mix of history and science fiction with well-drawn characters.
Grade 7+