Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

Vinita "Mercy" Swakhammer Lynch is a Confederate nurse 20 years into the Civil War. Shortly after learning of her Yankee husband's death she receives a letter from the Seattle Sheriff telling her her daddy is sick and asking for her. Mercy hasn't seen her dad since he packed up and left when she was a little girl, but she decides to make the cross-country trek to see him, soon getting caught up in adventure and mystery. What is the drug the men call "sap" and what are it's ultimate effects? How did a large group of Mexicans end up in Utah and are they really eating people? What is in the mystery cars on the train that require a Yankee regiment and the most dreaded Yankee war engine in the country to guard them?

I've never really read steampunk before, unless you count Verne and Wells, so when I learned of a first-come, first-served contest by TOR to get a copy, I entered, knowing almost nothing about it other than "steampunk". I was a bit disappointed, therefore, when I discovered it was also an alternate history and zombie novel; two "genres" that have never been favorites. Zombies in particular give me pause after what they did to Jane Austen. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised.

Though the beginning (100-150 pages) dragged a bit for my tastes, once Mercy was on the train I was captivated. The action was perfectly paced and the mystery given just enough build; and while the book certainly subscribes to a variety of genres, all are done in a way that the book never really feels like a zombie-book, or an alternate history, or even steampunk. Dreadnought is about Mercy Lynch and her journey with the plot devices being secondary.

It turns out, when done well, I do like all these genres. I will certainly be seeking out other Cherie Priest novels in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. The High Priestess of steampunk is an awesome author. You should read Boneshaker for a little more steampunk, but I also recommend Fathom. An earlier work, but none-the-less a terrific read.


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I'm human, so I've got some issues, but all things considered I guess I'm reasonably normal. My parents are still married. My best friends are my sisters...okay, so I'm normal for the 1850's whatever. I'm opinionated and nerdy. I'm walking the line between tweener-style pop culture love (witness my ever-burning New Kids love and inexplicable Twilight obsession) and elitist culture snob (I can't seem to get enough 19th century British Lit and historical biographies) but, after 30 years, I'm finally learning not to give a crap what anyone else thinks about me. Oh, and those are my feet in the picture. The socks were made by a friend.

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