Episode 4: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest with Marilag Angway and James DeBruicker

Another Reblog! Seriously, Meg @ La Foi Aveugle is amazing, and kudos to her for taking the time and getting this audio edited!

In this episode, we discuss Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, a steampunk zombie adventure (yes, you heard me) taking place in Seattle during the American Civil War (yes, you heard me again). Steampunk has always been near and dear to my heart, considering I write in this subgenre so much!

Source: Episode 4: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest with Marilag Angway and James DeBruicker


[Book Tags] – The Zombie Apocalypse

Lauren @ Always Me has such fun tags, and this was certainly another one that I yoinked from her. It’s such a fitting time to do it, too, considering it’s October and I’m hunkering down preparing for Samhain! Or, well, Shocktober as what many already call it.

The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag


  1. Pick 5 books (favorites or random but know the characters).
  2. Write the name of the books on strips of paper.
  3. Draw one piece randomly for it to be your book/choice.
  4. Open to a random page and use the first name you see to answer question 1.
  5. Use the same book for question 2, but turn to a different page.
  6. Repeat the steps 2-5 till you answered all the questions.

My Books:


In no particular order (and honestly, I just picked favorite books off random shelves and made sure I’d read them previously):

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Book 1: Fire by Kristin Cashore

1. The first person to die: 

Fire (p. 214) – God. Worst luck ever. Though to be fair, I’m pretty sure the only reason she would die is if she was protecting people she loved. Like Hanna or Brigan. Yeah. This so doesn’t make me feel better.

2. The person you trip to get away from the zombies:

Archer (p. 300) – Lol. I…see this as possibly happening, actually. I was so over Archer by the second half of the book.

Book 2: Cress by Marissa Meyer

3. The first person to turn into a zombie:

Scarlet (p. 96) – I’m sorry, girl! Your uh…zombification will be avenged! (Random note: I notice my redheads don’t make it in this zombie apocalypse. Dammit!)

4. The person that trips you to get away from the zombies:

Kai (p. 297) – I’m not even angry by this. You run, Kai. Run far and fast. I’ll catch up with the group eventually. XD

Book 3: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

5. The idiot of the team:

Dylan/Deryn (p. 280) – Lol, I feel like the roles are switched here, but I suppose she is pretty dense at times. And reckless.

6. The brains of the team:

Alek (p. 168) – All that swordfighting practice might have given him a bit of strategic edge fighting zombies.

Book 4: Soulless by Gail Carriger

7. The team’s medic: 

Professor Lyall (p. 132) – As the Woolsey Pack Beta, this is definitely a possibility. Though…do werewolves actually suffer through zombie-ism when they’re already cursed with lycanthropy?

8. The weapons expert:

Alexia Tarrabotti (p. 338) – I do not doubt this! After all, she does know a thing or two about attacking with parasols!

Book 5: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

9. The brawler:


Sam Cornick (p. 68) – Hahaha, I totally see this. He’d be an excellent brawler, though.

10. The team captain:

Warren (p. 236) – Yes! I’d totally follow him as my team captain. I mean…if Adam wasn’t available, obvi.

That was definitely fun to do! I’m more or less happy with my team mates, though I am particularly bummed that my redheads suffered an early defeat against the hands of brain-eaters. But c’est la zombie vie, I suppose.

I’m a horrid tagger, but per usual, I tag EVERYBODY! Because I’d love to see your results. 😀

Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Okay. I knew, going into the book, that it was a steampunk book mostly because I’d heard of Cherie Priest from the steampunk-lit circle. I knew, going into the book, that the book took place in Seattle during the American Civil War, which was an interesting prospect altogether.

What I had not expected were the zombies.


Cherie Priest
Tor Books, 2009
Steampunk, zombie, war
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

boneshakerIn 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.

What I Loved

The atypical POVs. It was difficult to classify this book as far as age-range, because the two main characters span from 16 years to over 30. On top of that, the dual perspectives between Briar and Zeke do not entail romance. Love, yes, but not romance. And that’s because Briar Wilkes is Zeke’s mother. That makes the whole premise of her journey into Seattle even more of a motivator: she wants to get her son out of the Blight-infested city alive and uninfected. I admire this relationship, because it shows me that a mother and a woman over her 30s can still be a badass main character who would embark on a suicidal mission to rescue her child. It reminds me of Littlefoot’s mother in Land Before Time, sorta. That’s motherly love right there, taking on Sharptooth.

I just dredged up so much feels right here.

The “chute drop” into Seattle. Zeke had an easier time getting into the city, but Briar had the singular best entrance by air drop. I don’t know if my imagination ran away with me, because my head pretty much visualized the way Briar got dropped from an airship into the city in grand style, whooshing wind and tubes and all.

Seattle during the American Civil War. Not saying I’d love to live in Seattle after Leviticus Blue’s Boneshaker did away with the city, but I do have to hand it to Priest for sketching such a vivid setting. It’s a bleak place, infested by Blight gas (the source of the zombies), and even the outskirts have to set up blockades to prevent said gas from spreading out of the city. And did I mention that this whole thing is happening in the west during a time where the Eastern United States was taking a battering of its own? Yeah. Not a time period I’d love to be in.

Swakhammer pulled a pair of gigantic pistols out of his holsters and spun the cylinders to make sure they were loaded. Lucy reached under the bar and retrieved a modified crossbow. She flipped a latch and the contraption opened; she placed it upside down on the counter and slammed her mechanical arm upon it, and the weapon affixed itself to her wrist with a hard click. Even white-haired Varney with his fragile-looking limbs was bracing himself for trouble. He lifted up the piano’s lid and retrieved a pair of shotguns, which he held ready–one under each armpit.

The cast of crazy characters and China men and mad scientists. There were a lot that came to help and/or hinder Briar and Zeke in their adventure. I think Briar got lucky where she tread, because she managed to find characters who would stop at nothing to “keep Maynard’s peace,” which meant Briar was the celebrated daughter of a hero they worshiped. Zeke, on the other hand, found the other side of the Maynard-worshipers. That all said, I loved the diverse cast, which ranged from former slaves, prisoners, war deserters, Indians, and one-armed bar owners. All of them–and I mean all of them–somehow managed to survive the city of zombies. That’s what I call survival skills.

I pretty much imagined this happening at Maynard’s the moment there was a zombie threat.

Love/Hate Relationship

Too many characters, too little time. I did feel at times that I didn’t know as much about the characters as much as I’d liked. Cly and his crew (Fang!!!) were super-interesting, and I would have loved to have read more about their adventures. Swakhammer and Lucy were also really great characters that I’d have loved to read more of, but understandably their story was minor in the grand scheme of Briar and Zeke’s adventure. Maybe there will be more in the continuing novels, but I did feel the interesting characters got little limelight. Not that Minnericht wasn’t interesting or anything. He was plenty interesting enough, but upon the reveal I wasn’t super-wowed.

4 out of 5 cookies! There wasn’t much else I could say that I didn’t like about the book. It was fun to read, and I loved the steampunkery of it all.


TTT: Books About the Undead

Considering I just finished my stint on reading a fabulous zombie steampunk novel (*coughCheriePriest’sBoneshakercough*), I thought I’d explore the realm of the undead. That being said, I was also pretty tempted to put ghost story books here, but I can’t really say I loved too many of them, and I’ve only just started Anna Dressed in Blood to give it proper judgment in the matter.

All the same, Happy early Samhain!


For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

Top Ten Books About the Undead

or otherwise known as

Vampires and Zombies and Ghouls Oh My!

The Zombies

World War Z by Max Brooks – Because the zombie apocalypse happening internationally is brilliantly scary. And I am so ready with Max Brooks as my survival guide.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith, adapted by Tony Lee, illustrated by Cliff Richards – Seeing the novel version of this made me LOL so hard. Seeing the graphic novel adaptation of said novel version? Pure awesomeness. Jane Austen probably rolled around in her grave, but I’m pretty sure even she can see the poetic beauty of doing so.

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman – Obviously a mentionable on this list. Who hasn’t heard of the term zombies and not thought about Robert Kirkman’s popular comics series? Granted, I’m completely behind on both comics and TV show, but eh, I’ve always been a slow turtle.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – I’m in the process of writing a review on this book, but suffice to say that I couldn’t have picked up a better Halloween-themed book than a book about zombies, wars, mad scientists, and steampunk.

The Vampires

Dracula by Bram Stoker – The book that brought forth inspiration for all its subsequent vampire-related fiction. Granted, if I tried to read this book again today, my attention span would probably peter off into the distance. Still, there is no denying the fact that Dracula is pretty much a household term. Mostly to describe blood-sucking undead kings.

Hellsing by Kouta Hirano – Admittedly, I have not read the manga yet. I have watched both the anime and the OVA, and the latter follows the manga quite well. I’m not sure I could get through the manga series, though. I had way too many feels at the end of the OVA.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – I pretty much went through an Anne Rice phase in high school, and while I’m not as interested in picking up her books these days, I do give her credit for introducing me into the vampire fiction world. Heck, I’d read Interview with the Vampire way before I’d tackled Dracula, so that’s saying a lot.

Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi (illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano) – Firstly, the artwork is by Yoshitaka Amano. Same guy who had done a majority of the concept artwork for my favorite Eastern RPGs, the Final Fantasy series. Secondly, D is badass. He’s one of my favorite vampire creatures ever.

A Bit of Both

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I wasn’t totally wowed by this book, but it was still a fun read. The zombies were adorable in this book, and the vampires were hilarious.

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs – I chose this particular book because it was one of my favorites. Also, it dealt mostly with vampires, though in all honesty, I feel like thralls count as zombies. I’m pretty sure some vampires even had the skills to reanimate the dead, so there are probably zombies in this urban fantasy anyway.

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Once upon a time, I read a short story by Carrie Ryan called “Bougainvillea” and fell in love with it. This love opened a desire door to read her longer zombie novels, and when I saw that a bunch of my friends rated The Forest of Hands and Teeth pretty high (and some hated it…but I usually approach those one-stars with a grain of caution), I thought to myself: “Mari, frelling read this already.”

So I did…


by Carrie Ryan
Gollancz, 2009
YA dystopia, zombie apocalypse
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

forestIn Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Gifly Thoughts

…And I ran into my first problem. Which was that the first premise that got thrown in there is the fact that Miss Protagonist Mary is in a love triangle.

And this plays out throughout the ENTIRE. BOOK. Until, of course, the heartwrenching–to Mary, that is–ending where evidently Mary just ends up *SPOILERS* all alone and not totally dependent on a man–well, actually, scratch that *END SPOILERS*. I didn’t even like any of the romantic interests. Frankly, I would have been more amused and/or satisfied had Mary fallen for Cass, because at least she went and developed a more rounded personality.

But then Gabrielle turned up, and my interest was certainly piqued by this effed-up and secretive Sisterhood Chantry thing that was going on in the village.

And you know what? When Mary wasn’t pining for contact with heartthrob-Travis (who, *SPOILERS* let’s be honest, wasn’t ever going to make it in a zombie apocalypse with his busted up leg *END SPOILERS*), the story actually got to the place where it was much, much better. And I will be morbidly honest, that bit with the Fast One screwing up everybody’s village day for a good few chapters kept me entertained for a while.

Then the meandering across the Forest of Hands and Teeth began, and we were back to the characters eyeing each other with some sexual tension that really didn’t have a place in the midst of TRYING TO SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

Alright. Maybe love makes the hopelessness and neverending travel through the Forest a little easier. I’ll settle for the satisfaction that at least it kept Cass from completely losing her marbles (though when she did, I was sort of amused), and Jed and Harry were semi-competent when they weren’t thinking of trying to make super-angsty Mary happy (which, let’s be honest, had no chance of happening).

Other than the emotional clusterfudge raging through the poor, hormonal teens–something I expected, though not at this frustrating a level–I thought the book was not as bad as I make it out to be. The ending did get somewhat annoying, but there were portions of the journey from the village to the Forest and then-some that entertained me enough to want to finish the book.

That said, I might have had too much expectation  on The Forest of Hands and Teeth blowing me out of the water (or ocean, heh), as “Bougainvillea” did when I read the short story from the Zombies vs. Unicorns anthology. Oh well.

3 out of 5 cookies!