Friday, July 29, 2011

Cherie Priest Clockwork Century


Trafficking in two tired zeitgeists (zombies and steampunk) Ms. Priest is not adding much to those two genres. But, to be fare she that really isn’t her intent. She seems to want to craft an adventure, and she crafts a fun one. Dragging some unlikely protagonists ( a social pariah single mother and her teenage delinquent son) and some lovable rogues and some fiendish villains into a series of close calls and last minute rescues. She has written a world to have these adventures in that reminds me of Escape From New York, Dr. Who, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, George Romero, and The Wild, Wild West. Lots of action, pulp clich├ęs, and a couple of surprising plot twists happen along the way. It moves and is easy to read. She seems to be writing a series and I think I’ll probably read those as they come out.

A fun adventure in Priest’s Clockwork Century a steam punk alternative history of the American Civil War (an underused idea since a war fought with gatling guns, ironclads, primitive submarines, and balloons should fire more steam punk imaginations).Pirates, Pinkertons, A woman confederate spy, escaped slaves, airship battles, and a doomsday weapon and the barest sketching of the historical background are along for entertaining a pulpy ride. I feel like I’m just getting tastes of this series so hurry with more Ms. Priest! For fans of Howard Waldrop, Mike Mignola, and Joe Lansdale’s weird west


I was about to dismiss Cherie Priest and her Clockwork Century series as over hyped, finding them pleasant enough while being slightly confused by enthusiastic praise being heaped on them. But, this final scheduled volume (hopefully there will be more) changes most of my concerns. This is a great adventure with lots action and terrific pacing. There are too many characters with too little differentiating a lot of them and the ending is a bit of a fizzle. The extended Civil War has always been in the background in the first two books and here we finally get to see some of it. So this is an adventure with war, steam punk gadgets(never overbearing), zombies, intrigue, bandits, and some terrific set pieces. I could definitely read more of these.

Coming soon!

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