Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Boneshaker Review

Book Talk: At the crossroads lies a ghost town, abandoned years ago under mysterious circumstances.  When Arcane was founded, they moved it up the road a bit to avoid the site and hopefully the bad luck of the old town.  But when a traveling medicine show stops by the same fate threatens to destroy Arcane. Somehow, Natalie finds herself in the center of it all and she risks everything to unravel the mystery, but when the time comes will she be able to save the town and look the devil in the eye?

Rocks My Socks: The book has wonderful atmosphere, and the main character has wonderful spunk.  The book brings together a lot of elements that I love to read about in novels: traveling shows, automatons,  and deals with the devil.  I also love all the minor characters populating the story.  Natalie is the main character, but the story is really about the town and as such we get to know a lot of its residents.  The whole book has a delicious feeling of an old folktale being told around a campfire and there are beautiful illustrations throughout.

Rocks In My Socks: There was a lot in the novel that should have either been cut or expanded on.  For example, there are two male characters that are portrayed as Natalie's best friends in the first part of the book and it seems as if they were going to be major supporting characters.  However, partway through the book they just dropped out of the narrative without explanation and are never mentioned again.  There's also a drifter character who I enjoyed, but didn't seem to really serve much of a purpose.  One of the central images, that of Natalie holding the automaton of herself, didn't make any sense to me. It seems like a lot of effort just to vaguely creep her out.  There's a lot of information in there that isn't really necessary to the reader and just seemed to clog up the narrative and confuse the main storyline.  None of this really affected my experience reading the story, however, because I assumed they were there for a purpose and would appear again later on.  It wasn't until after I finished the book and looked back on it that I realized how many loose threads and extraneous details there were.

Every Book Its Reader: I'd give it to 5th grade and up boys and girls looking for a supernatural adventure or fans of historical fantasy.  Adults looking for a light supernatural romp will enjoy this atmospheric novel as well. A quick warning, though: the book bills itself as having 'steampunk elements' on the inside flap, but I think this is a bit misleading.  The only element having anything to do with steampunk is the automatons, and the novel is powered by supernatural forces much more than steam.

Support your local independent bookstore and buy it through indiebound or check it out from your local library today!

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