Author: Cherie Priest
Series: Stand alone, but part of the “Clockwork Century” expanded universe series
Age/Audience: Late YA/Adult – 10th grade +
Genre/Style: Alternate US Civil War, survivor story, post-apocalyptic
Read If You Like: Seattle, zombies, mystery, post-apocalyptic, strong women
As the US Civil War rages on the East Coast, the West is still looking for gold, and better ways to drill to find it. Enter Leviticus Blue and his Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine. But when the Boneshaker drills through the financial district in Seattle leaving a wake of death and destruction it’s Blue’s pregnant wife Briar who bears the brunt of the public rage – since Leviticus is nowhere to be found. Sixteen years later things have gone from bad to worse. The Boneshaker went to deep, releasing a poisonous gas from underground. The “blight” turns people into “rotters”, zombie-like creatures – assuming you survive in the toxic city of death long enough to become one. To keep the gas contained the people of Seattle build a wall, leaving anyone foolhearty enough to stay behind to fend for themselves.
Briar and her son, Zeke, live on the edge of the wall in the poorest part of the new Seattle. Shamed for her husband’s actions Briar is an outcast. Zeke, though, refuses to believe his father is innocent, and that he Boneshaker must have gone out of control. He refuses to believe his father intentionally drove the Boneshaker and he plans to prove it. Zeke climbs the wall into old Seattle determined to find the truth. The truth, he thinks, lies in his parent’s old home and a man called Minnericht; a drug-dealing, mechanical weapon building, underworld kingpin who many believe to be Leviticus Blue. When Briar realizes what her son has done she climbs over the wall after him, determined to save her son from his father’s legacy and her own secrets.
Bottom Line: Fantastic multiple-appeal style book with an incredible twist ending and no romance.