Friday, December 11, 2009

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

I heard about this book in several places, but it was this "Big Idea" write-up that really made me want to read it. Most of the reviews I had read focused on the plot - which seemed entirely ok but not something I was running out to go read. The Big Idea write-up was Cherie herself explaining how she had tweaked all the historical elements to ramp up the level of technology available, and the number of people living in Seattle around the time she wanted. Also not something that particularly intrigued me. I'm quite able to suspend disbelief, and I'm not a history geek, so this didn't grab me. What made me decide I really needed to read the book was the introductory quote she decided to use:
In this age of invention the science of arms has made great progress. In fact, the most remarkable inventions have been made since the prolonged wars of Europe in the early part of the century, and the short Italian campaign of France in 1859 served to illustrate how great a power the engines of destruction can exert.
From (and I am not making this up, this is the book’s full title): History of the Great Rebellion. From its commencement to its close, giving an account of its origin, The Secession of the Southern States, and the Formation of the Confederate Government, the concentration of the Military and Financial resources of the federal government, the development of its vast power, the raising, organizing, and equipping of the contending armies and navies; lucid, vivid, and accurate descriptions of battles and bombardments, sieges and surrender of forts, captured batteries, etc., etc.; the immense financial resources and comprehensive measures of the government, the enthusiasm and patriotic contributions of the people, together with sketches of the lives of all the eminent statesmen and military and naval commanders, with a full and complete index. From Official Sources. By Thomas P. Kettell.

Yup, it is the fact that she decided to use a quote where the title of the book was longer than the actual quote as the introductory quote for her novel. This was the point at which I realized I loved her sense of humour, which meant it was very likely I would love the book. And I did. I inhaled it practically in a single sitting. The two main characters (Briar and her son Zeke) are great. The folks they interact with are also great. She really got things right about how young teenagers make their decisions compared with how adults make decisions - and who they decide to trust, and why. The setting was a lot of fun. The zombies were awesome (which I wasn't expecting, I'm not really crazy about zombies). The supporting characters were pretty great. And the underlying mystery (why is Briar so absolutely convinced that her husband died during the disaster?) was very well handled. It was a great story and very well told.

No comments:

Post a Comment