Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pulp of the Week - Cherie Priest's Clementine

Written By Cherie Priest
Cover Art By John Foster
Published By Subterranean Press

Clementine is the second novel in the Clockwork Century series written by Cherie Priest. It is about half the size of Boneshaker (the first novel), but it is a terrific read and if you have read Boneshaker, you will want to read this new book.

The next book in the Clockwork Century series, Dreadnought, is due out at the end of September so I wanted to have this one done so I can read that one when it comes out.

But this isn't much of a review so far, so here goes... Spoiler Alert for those who have not read Boneshaker. Don't read this review.

Clementine follows two characters and what happens when they meet and their destinies intertwine. Like Boneshaker, it has dirigibles, shoot outs, adventure, intrigue and a boy in trouble. But the similarity stops there, well except that Clementine is also an awesome book.

The first character is Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey, whose airship, the Free Crow, is stolen at the end of Boneshaker. Hainey has taken off in another airship in hot pursuit. He is determined to get his ship back (even though he stole it in the first place) at nearly any cost.

Maria Isabella Boyd is a former Confederate spy who in desperation has taken on a job as a Pinkerton agent. Her first assignment is to be sure that whatever is on the  Free Crow makes it to its destination and to keep Hainey from getting his ship back.

Belle Boyd and Captain Hainey are great characters that I couldn't help but root for. Their unlikely alliance is the heart of the book and I loved their relationship as much as the ass-kicking both of these people deliver to their enemies.

What Clementine doesn't have is Zombies. Boneshaker was a Seattle story and because of the conditions there, there are zombies. The new book has plenty of action and thrills to take the place of the creeping undead. Hainey and his all black crew have to risk heading East to the heart of the Civil War where they are unwelcome by either side.

Cherie Priest is on a roll and writing some awesome pulp action. Even if you think you don't like steampunk, read the Clockwork Century books because they are big fun, full of pulpy action and awesome characters. Personally, I find Steampunk to be a weird label. I just call it pulp, or if you must  - alternate history SF.

I give Clementine an 8.5 out of 10. It is a lean 200 pages of pulp adventure. I can't wait for Dreadnought which releases on Sept 28. If you like the sound of this hurry over to Subterranean Press before they sell out. If you miss it there, it will be out in a trade paperback in 2011.

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