Monday, September 27, 2010
Frakking Shiny Book of the Month: Boneshaker by Cherie M. Priest
The Kelley/Ives household (okay, okay- apartmenthold) is populated by two avid readers- Chelsea and myself. Despite our best efforts, our cats Terry and Tamsin have not been able to overcome their feline natures, and cannot read. So Chelsea and I are big readers. I'm the "bookfinder" of our duo. I actively seek out new books to read. Usually this is a process that involves going to message boards populated by other avid readers (like sffworld.com), or googling an author who's been getting good press, or once in awhile getting a recommendation from a friend. After reading a book, I will talk to Chelsea about it, and will either A) tell her it's great and that she should read it, B) tell her it sucks and that she shouldn't read it, or C) tell her it's great, but that she probably wouldn't like it (because it has a sad ending, or small animal dies in it, or something).
It was in this way that we both ended up reading Cherie M. Priest's "Boneshaker". I was perusing a Steampunk message board (I honestly don't remember which one) and a thread popped up called "Boneshaker." Within the thread, various Steampunks were discussing the virtues of the aforementioned book. Per the thread, I learned that the book contained:
Crazy steampunk weapons and armor
Multiple mad scientists
An alternate history US Civil War
and a tender story of a mother and son
Despite that last thing (kidding...kind of), I decided that this book sounded awesome, and....forgot about it for like 6 months.
6 months later, I was trying to find another book (Scott Westerfield's "Leviathan"), and I found "Boneshaker" instead. I bought it, read it in about 3 days, and told Chelsea she pretty much had to read it too. Which she did.
So, sky pirates, zombies, and mad scientists may sound awesome, but I've read those words on the backs of books before only to find that the book itself wasn't actually very good. "Boneshaker" was very, very good. What separates "Boneshaker" from other, more inferior books in it's genre is the story. The relationship between the two main characters (a mother and son) is very strong, and very compelling. You can have all kinds of cool, fun stuff in your book, but if there's no heart it's not going to be very interesting. On top of all of that "Boneshaker" is fun to say. Say it out loud like you're announcing the name of a professional wrestler at Summerslam.
So, Frakking Shiny, for the month of September, recommends Cherie Priest's "Boneshaker"- check it out for Steampunk-y goodness, and a great story.