Review- Boneshaker

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

My review:
To try and label Boneshaker would be a mistake.  Yes, it can be classified as sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, cult-zombie read, and it is all these things. But more importantly, Boneshaker is a tale of the human spirit.  And it should be classified as a literary classic of this millennium.

The greatest triumph of this story are it's characters.  Each character is designed and crafted with such skill and attention to purpose you nearly forget that there's a story-line that needs to be followed.  Each fresh face symbolized a separate and equally gripping emotion.  Hope, Fear, Regret, Redemption, Betrayal, Power.  No one character was alike, yet they become united on a single front; Faith. Faith that their convictions will win out; that their dreams will be fulfilled. The richness of the characters stayed with me long after the pages were spent. 

The delivery of the story was unique in that you're following 2 stories from 2 points of views that mirror one another.  And the suspense rendered by the rotters (zombies), is nearly constant.  The rotters were a wise scare tactic, and even a zombie novelist such as myself wasn't intimidated by their part in the story.  I appreciated the slow-burn of the story, but the pace does dip from time to time. 

There are so many mysteries to be solved throughout the book your mind never lets up. Priest teases you with information, but never quite lets you have the final piece of the puzzle. Most of my questions were answered by book-end, but there are several (mostly character histories) that I hope will be answered in stories to come.  Even though this story-telling approach can be frustrating at times, I admired the effect it had on the story over all.  For me, I became that much more invested.  I was desperate to discover every little piece of information I could.

Bottom Line: Move over Huck Finn, there's a new classic in the ranks and this one has steam-ships, and zombies, and pirates...oh my!

4.5 stars


  1. "And it should be classified as a literary classic of this millennium." Holy Wow Jess! What a glowing review! Sounds like this one should be on my 'to check out' list... :)

  2. Julie: It made me want to say things such as "visual feast" "splendid imagery" ...lol

  3. Wow Jessica, really fabulous review. I haven't read this one but it's absolutely going on my list now. It sounds really intense and mysterious and like one of those that will stay with you once you're done reading:)

  4. Thanks Jenny. It's a beautiful book. Really captures you, ya know?