I have long resisted reading steampunk.  Possibly because I'm not very mechanically-minded and all the cogs and steam made me nervous. Maybe because I have a fear of goggles and seeing the extra layers and straps in the costumes made me feel fat.

Whatever the reasons, it was a good year between reading a 'start here' article sent from a friend and actually picking up some Cherie Priest.

Set in the late 19th century, Boneshaker is about a device that turned most of burgeoning Seattle into a soupbowl of yellow gas called Blight.  When the ground was churned and crumbled, the gases trapped underneath shot up to kill off animal and plant life, choke people to death and then zap them into zombiedom.  The whole hot mess has been cut off from the rest of the area by an enormous stone wall.

The Boneshaker's inventor, Leviticus Blue, disappeared the day his machine tore the town apart.  His wife Briar and their son Zeke are pariahs scrounging out a living in the mudflats outside the wall.   When Zeke finds a map of the downtown area, he heads off to get past the wall and find out what really happened with his father's invention - and if Leviticus is actually alive.  Briar naturally freaks out and goes into the city after him to tell him the truth about his father and get him out alive.

Though the lack of hygiene gave me the squirms, this one made onto my Just Read It Already list for 2010.  Pirates? check.  Zombies? check.  Soap? ehh.

If you haven't tried steampunk - or if you've just not read this author - I'm giving it two sooty thumbs up. Just 'no touch-y' with those goggles.

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