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Cherie Priest

Tor (2009)

ISBN: 978-0765318411

Reviewed by Tansy Rayner Roberts, syndicated May 2010

This is one I have taken a while to read; I think because it’s so unlike what I normally do that I have had to wait between stints to be in the right mood again. I finished the last third at a fine lick today and enjoyed it greatly. This is the first steampunk novel I’ve read that was aimed at adults rather than children/YA and I enjoyed the extra crunchy levels of relationship drama that this entailed. (It’s also, incidentally, the first steampunk novel I have read which is written by a woman.)

In short, this is the story about Briar Wilkes, a widow who lives a hard life in the area outside late 19th century Seattle, a city no longer habitable because of an environmental crisis called the Blight that has poisoned the city’s air and turned a good chunk of its population into zombies. Briar keeps her head down, working hard and protecting her teenage son Zeke as much as she can from the truth about his father Leviticus Blue, the most hated man in the history of Seattle, whose grand digging machine brought the Blight into the city.

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