I am a chronic re-reader. 90% of the books that have passed through my hands in the last year are books I have previously read by the likes of Robert Heinlein, Alistair MacLean, Stephen King and Tom Clancy. A big part of it is my reading habit. I like to read, but I don't always have huge stretches of time available to immerse myself in a getting into a new book. It's just easier mentally to pick up something I have already read, and jump into a favorite passage or two before nodding off to sleep(or while using the potty).
I have read a few new books in the last year. My wife and I worked through the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. We have read all of Larry Corria's stuff, and read the new Rawles book that came out. And that is about it.
Steampunk is all the rage right now...and other than admiring pictures of models wearing corsets with gear pieces pinned to them, I haven't really embraced the culture yet. Late to the party, as usual. For Christmas, I picked up a few books by Cherie Priest: 'Boneshaker' and 'Dreadnought'. They are books we have looked at once or twice, but just never splurged for, which is what the Christmas season is all about, right? Plus, in November it was announced that 'Boneshaker' was picked up by Hammer Studios to be made into a movie, and it has gotten really good reviews.
Anyway...'Boneshaker' is the first book in what Cherie Priest calls her 'Clockwork Century' series. You know it is steampunk because the cover picture has someone wearing goggles with extra lenses, and there is a strange looking blimp reflected in the goggles. I promise that is the last snarky comment I will make, because it is a really good book, even if I don't necessarily get 'steampunk'(other than the girls in corsets and thigh-highs with gear pieces pinned to them).
It's an interesting setting. Cherie uses an alternate history Seattle, where the Civil War is still raging after 16 years, and the Klondike Gold Rush caused Seattle to bloom much earlier than in our timeline. Seattle also then faded, the site of a horrible accident during a drilling experiment, which released 'blight gas' into the city.
The blight gas is bad ju-ju. It's not just a poison that kills...it also brings some of the victims back as 'rotters'(zombies to you and me). The only way to keep the gas from spreading is to build a 200-foot wall around most of Seattle, creating a walled off bowl of anarchy and conflicting factions, into which our heroes venture.
Except, they aren't really heroes. The two main characters in the book are Briar and Zeke Wilkes, the widow and son of the man who brought this ruin to the fine city of Seattle. Briar has had a tough 16-years since the accident, as most people hold her responsible for what her husband did. Zeke, not as willing to take it as Briar is, sets out to collect evidence to prove his father was not the bastard that people made him out to be. Of course, the only way to do that is to head into Seattle, where Briar follows to make sure he gets out alive.
It's a good story, and Cherie does a fine job of world building. The only real negative is that it takes a while to feel anything for the two main characters. They just kind of feel like pawns who are going through motions to advance the story...which is an interesting story, and it's engrossing...but it's not until about 2/3rds of the way through the book where you kind of find youself wondering if Briar and Zeke are going to be okay.
I recommend the book. If you are at all into zombies, or steampunk, or alternate history, or books where widows rescue their kids using Spencer Repeating Carbine's, give this one a chance.
Especially before the movie comes out.