Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1)



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.  (Summary and cover courtesy of


This was a “did not finish” after about 150 page.  I wanted SO BADLY to love this book, but it just never clicked for me.  It has all of the elements (well maybe not the zombies) of steampunk that I love, but somehow didn’t quite work.

The characters are extremely remote from the reader.  When I was reading the sections from Briar’s point of view, it was like watching a movie from afar with little explanation of what was going on.  You never get true insight.  My other complaint is that the characters seem to be “well this is who we are and then we’ll be thrown around at the whims of the plot”.  Oh, and let's throw in a lot of things that steampunk fans like... it never felt like a naturally built world for me.  Other than slightly at the beginning, it never felt like the characters were making decisions or deciding which direction to go.

I kept picking this one up and down and ultimately decided to abandon it.  Perhaps I’ll give it another shot down the line.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 2 stars!

Who should read it? Zombie, steampunk and Western fans who think a flare of dystopian sounds amazing.

Want to read the whole series?

  • Clementine (The Clockwork Century #1.1)
  • Tanglefoot (The Clockwork Century #1.2)
  • Dreadnought (The Clockwork Century #2)
  • Ganymede (The Clockwork Century #3)
  • The Inexplicables (The Clockwork Century #4)
  • Fiddlehead (The Clockwork Century #5)
  • Jacaranda (The Clockwork Century #6)