And so I continue my foray into the steampunk genre with Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. And this was a fun read, even if it's not exactly what I expected.
The Civil War has been dragging on for decades and the Russians are trying to decide whether or not to sell Alaska to the U.S. When they learn that there's gold in the Klondike, they start a race to build a machine that can dig it all out. The most likely contender is a man named Leviticus Blue, a scientist who builds a massive drill called the Boneshaker. Thing is, before he can deliver, the Boneshaker runs wild through underground Seattle, trashing the financial district and creating a big old mess.
Worse, in the aftermath of the destruction, a strange gas the locals call the Blight begins to seep through the town, killing people and turning them into zombies. To contain the threat, a massive wall is built around downtown Seattle.
And that's just in the prologue. Many years after this disaster, a young man named Ezekiel Wilkes decides he needs to get into the ruined city to clear his family name. He's really the son of Leviticus Blue and he's sure that his father didn't do anything wrong. He's bound and determined to face down the undead rotters and the folks still inside the city. But what he doesn't realize is that his mother, Briar Wilkes, is on his trail. She wants to make sure he gets out alive. But with a city controlled by a mysterious scientist Dr. Minnericht, no one is really safe.
I'm not sure what I expected with this book. I think I expected more gadgets, crazy inventions run by steam and gears and such. And while there were a few, it wasn't all that many. Cherie Priest seemed more interested in exploring the ruins of a vastly different Seattle.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy this book. I did. The counterfactual elements blended seamlessly with Priest's descriptions and I really enjoyed this story.
I'm coming to the conclusion that steampunk might not be for me. It's fun and all, but I'm not sure I'm going to be anything like a rabid fan. But with books like this, I might be willing to stick around a while longer.