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31 January 2013

Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest

Just finished reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Took me a while to get into it. It's been in my stack of books next to my bed for a month or more. I was reading a few pages at a time for a couple weeks. But partway through I started having trouble putting it down, and two days later I had finished it.

I've decided - after some deliberation - that I like the softer look of the ivory pages with brown font. At first I found it charming, an instant attraction of the book. At times it was inconsequential, and at one point I thought I might dislike it, because it was harder to read in the low light of the evening than a conventional color scheme would have been. I had to stop trying to read it when I was tired. My eyes and that light font just didn't work together, then. But... I probably should have been sleeping at that point, anyway. My fault - so the color scheme got its point back.

Why the slow start for such a voracious reader as myself?
How did it finally catch my attention?

Hmm, well,... good questions. I had to go back and skim the first part again to answer them. And when I did, I found it far more engaging than I had the first time. So my answer to both is: I have no idea.

This isn't much of a book review, I'm afraid. But I'll say this: if my son weren't so afraid of zombies, this would have been a great book to read to him. (He's in third grade, reads far below a third grade level, but loves being read to, and is totally capable of understanding higher level books being read to him. I know because I ask him comprehension questions as we read, to make sure he's actually listening.) There was tons of action, which he would love, especially... after the first part - which could explain my initial difficulty.

Ok, back to answering those two questions up there, because I've just figured it out: I didn't know what to expect from this book. I'd never read a Cherie Priest book before, and the cover touted it as full of all the steampunk-action elements, and I wasn't seeing any of those at first. It seemed to be slow-paced, in contrast to a fast-paced cover. It caught my attention when the story began to catch up with the cover, which I should add, was actually pretty soon. In all honesty, my difficulty with the beginning of the book probably had more to do with the poor quality of my attention span than it did with any aspect of the book.

Anyway. It would have been a great book to read to my son because we would both have enjoyed it. Lots of intelligent action, and no unnatural romance - which I'm afraid has ruined a good many action books with its forced, anti-climatic intrusions. And, the plot itself is not formulaic; it proceeds in such a way that I'm convinced the author is pretty damn clever.

Since finishing Boneshaker, I've also read another of Cheire Priest's books, Clementine, which is set in the same world as Boneshaker; Clementine is probably considered a spin-off of Boneshaker, but I haven't verified that. Regardless, I'm glad I read Boneshaker first because the plot of Clementine would have been hollow (though workable) without that background. That said, my suggestion to the author would be to provide some sort of indication of the best order in which to read the books of the series. While they aren't (apparently) serialized, there are major plot elements which are explained in one book and expanded in another. It was a bit of luck that I read Clementine after Boneshaker; I liked Clementine better for it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous08:56

    Thanks for sharing. My friend suggested this book to me and I declined borrowing their copy, I think I'll have to give it a try after all. If I managed to read the books I've already got stacked up for the Steampunk'd 2013 challenge.