Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

Book: Boneshaker

(The icon would probably be appreciated by any number of the book's characters, rather than being commentary on the book itself.)

Finished reading cmpriest's Boneshaker earlier. Now that's an effective use of viewpoint-protagonist-not-telling-us-everything, masterfully done. (I speak, of course, of the Widow Blue not sharing the full details of how she came to be widowed until the very end. It's not some piddly little detail; it's IMPORTANT, and it's also the sort of thing that one might not allow one's mind to dwell on, and it's also the sort of thing best served up with proof. Read and learn, young writers.)

For those who haven't read Boneshaker, I have a few questions.
1) Do you like alternate histories?
2) Do you like steampunk? Particularly, steampunk of the sort that doesn't try to hide the grime and the fact that the times we're speaking of were horribly racist and their alternate versions would likely not be much better? (I felt that there was a decent balance of not-making-the-modern-reader-cringe-too-badly, showing how it surely would have been based on how it was, and showing that the modern author did not approve. Though I'm not sensitized to these things; YMMV particularly if you are.)
3) Would you like to poke about an alternate Seattle that had become a Gold Rush boomtown? Would you mind it horribly if Seattle got slightly destroyed?
4) What are your thoughts on zombies?
5) Are you willing to accept the premise of the Blight, a heavier-than-air, yellow, toxic, corrosive, visible under a polarized lens, water-soluble, kills and then turns people to zombies, gas? Without expecting to know its exact chemical nature or why it has the horrid effects it has? (Chemistry folks may have to suspend some serious disbelief.)

Two stories interlock throughout the book. Zeke Wilkes struggles to come of age and redeem the name of his reviled father. Meanwhile, Briar Wilkes fights tooth and nail against any force of man, nature, or the unnatural that gets in her way in order to find her son and keep him from getting his fool self killed ... or worse. The story is framed with an investigative reporter/historian who just wants to know the truth, honest.

One of the other reviews out there sums it up as basically an action movie (steampunk plus zombies) in book form, with some dangling ends, insufficiently explored motivations, and not overmuch suspense due to the interlocking plot threads. I can't disagree, and some more attention to those things would have been nice. Good thing both that other reviewer and I like action movies! I'll be re-reading this one.

(It also leaves the door wide open for a sequel; I would dearly love to hear about the continued adventures of Cly and the crew of the Naamah Darling [yes, named for who you think it's named for], Briar, and Zeke, all of whom are likely to wind up flying Back East and running into some of the Unpleasantness Between the States. And I'm happy to see that my instincts for these things are not leading me false: there seem to be more planned, though I've no idea what they'll actually explore.)

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