Author: Cherie Priest
Information on series: The Clockwork Century: Book 1
Audience: YA, with adult crossover
Rating (scale of 1-5, with 5 being highest: 4
TL;DR: A fast-paced and character driven fantasy with steampunk, alternative history and zombies.
Longer Review: Set in the Pacific Northwest. In the early part of the civil war inventor Leviticus Blue is commissioned by Russian prospectors to build a machine that drills through ice. On the first test run Leviticus drilled through the foundation of several buildings down town, destroying them and unearthing a gas which causes those breathe it to turn into zombies. Sixteen years later, the city is walled up. Leviticus’ window, Briar, who has a tarnished reputation, is living in the outskirts. Her son, 15 year old Ezekiel has decided to sneak back into the city to prove that his Father that he never met wasn't such a bad guy after all. Briar goes in after him and they both encounter wild inventions, a mad scientist, zombies and pirates along the way.
This is well written. Fans of fantasy will find lots here. The emphasis is more on steampunk and less on the zombies. The book gets bogged down in detail in spots, so the reader may have to slow down to take it all in. Most of the book is pretty action packed and it has strong characters. Briar is a strong female protagonist. There is a bit of a mystery element as to if Leviticus was really the evil person everyone thinks he was and Briar knows more than she is telling everyone including Ezekiel.
The Six Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher: For the reader who wants to read more steampunk, zombies and alternate history. This takes place in an abandoned mine in Nevada.
The Havoc Machine by Stephen Harper: This is a fourth book in a series but can be read as a stand-alone. This has zombies, a mad scientist and a dangerous machine.