There is something about train journeys It isn t just the romance of the journey, but the ability to sit back, relax and watch the word You see and appreciate, the key here, the views and vistas that you pass by Stories that take place on train journeys should capture some of this Dreadnought, sadly, doesn t It wants to feel like one of those old Western train movies but it falls flat, in part because there is no real sense of urgency The novel opens quite well with Mercy working in Clara Barton s infantile Red Cross hospital during an everlasting American Civil War She receives word that her estranged father wants to see her before he dies It is this opening section with the hospital and treatment of the wounded that really shines The characters are well defined and drawn You care even about the wounded that appear for a brief time Sadly this does not translate to the travel part of the book In part, the reader keeps waiting for something to happen, even though things are happening It is hard, difficult, to keep some of Mercy s traveling companions straight It just makes you want to watch a good Western or read Dreadful Skin So why three stars Well, really 2.5 Because despite the problems, the reader does like Mercy and Miss Clay, the only other character to stand out in Mercy s journey Further, the idea of zombies being linked to drugs that runs in this series is worth it. 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 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 of these. Mercy Lynch Is Working At A War Hospital In Richmond, Virginia, When She Learns That Her Husband Has Died In A POW Camp And Her Estranged Father Is Gravely Injured And Wishes To See Her With No Good Reason To Stay In Virginia, Mercy Sets Out To See Her Father In SeattleBut Crossing The Country Is No Small Task It S A Harrowing Adventure Through War Torn Border States By Dirigible, Rail, And The Mississippi River And Once Mercy Finally Arrives In St Louis, The Only Tacoma Bound Train Is Pulled By A Terrifying Union Operated Steam Engine Called The Dreadnought Lacking Options And Running Out Of Money, Mercy Buys A Ticket And Climbs AboardWhat Ought To Be A Quiet Trip Turns Deadly When The Train Is Beset By Bushwackers, Then Vigorously Attacked By A Band Of Rebel Soldiers The Train Is Moving Away From Battle Lines Into The Vast, Unincorporated West, So Mercy Can T Imagine Why It S Meeting Such Resisitance Perhaps It Has Something To Do With The Mysterious Cargo In The Second And Last Train Cars Mercy Is Just A Frustrated Nurse Who Wants To See Her Father Before He Dies But She Ll Have To Survive Both Union Intrigue And Confederate Opposition If She Wants To Make It Off The Dreadnought Alive Three books seems to be about the amount I need to decide whether or not I m going to continue to read an author s books, unless they do something right away to piss me off This is the third Cherie Priest book I ve read Unless something major happens, it s also likely to be the last I m just not getting enough out of them, and there are things that nag.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally So it looks like the backlash against steampunk has finally begun in the last year or two and to all the haters, all I can say is, Screw you A science fiction subgenre 150 years in the making, turns out that the punk influenced genre writers of the 1980s and early 90s found a lot to admire in the old gear and steam days of the Victorian Age, especially when a recent reinvestigation into history in those years revealed that humanity came very close to actually inventing computers in the mid 1800s, only that society lacked transistors so couldn t get the machine pieces small enough to do anything practical And so did these writers combine the finery found in actual 19th century stories by Jules Verne and HG Wells with a modern sensibility and a what if sense of whimsy, producing stories in which giant brass covered mechanical armed spiders save the day in the Crimean War and so has this concept grown so explosively fast in popularity in the last twenty years, there are those out there who are actually kind of sick of it by now, and wish that the goggled girls in corsets and top hats would just stay home from this year s local sci fi convention.But shame on you if you feel this way, I say because just as others are suckers for moody serial killer stories, so am I a slavish fan of fanciful Victoriana, and can eat such stuff up with a spoon every day of the week and still want come Sunday dinner And man, it doesn t get much better these days than with the work of Cherie Priest, the Seattle based genre veteran who finally hit major paydirt last year with the nearly perfect Boneshaker one of my favorite books of the year in 2009, and also one of this year s Hugo nominees for Best Novel , an endlessly inventive book that combines the usual steampunk tropes with a zombie story, a post apocalyptic one, a first person shooter videogame and a John Carpenter movie Merely part one of an entire coming alt history series called the Clockwork Century, through luck and work Priest has gone out and attracted a passionate group of fans, through things like a lively blog and her fangirl love of dressing up for LARP photoshoots and so has a salivating group of readers been impatiently waiting for volume two of the series, this fall s Dreadnought, making it in good convention guest of honor style almost critic proof, in that it ll be selling well no matter what people like me have to say about it.And indeed, the news is mixed today when it comes to the new book because as I m sure even Priest herself knows, when you start a series like this with a title that is so endlessly clever, it s hard to sustain that cleverness through the entire series, with this second story by its very nature being a bit of a letdown just from the aspect of pure premise See, the first book is about a mad scientist in Seattle who invents a machine for the Russians that can burrow through ice and mine gold up in Alaska, but that causes an earthquake and rupture in Seattle s underbelly when he tries testing it and this just happens to release a toxic underground gas that turns people into flesh eating zombies, which the resource poor territorial government of the Pacific Northwest doesn t know how to deal with, other than to build a giant 200 foot high wall around the city limits So now there s an entire basement population of normal humans who live in sealed off tunnels there sometimes to turn this poisonous gas into a slightly less lethal powder that s become the new opium among drug addicted Civil War soldiers, and sometimes simply because these people are radical libertarians and want to live someplace where the government literally can t tell them what to do and so do these people fight with each other, fight against the still alive mad scientist down in the catacombs with them, and are always on the defensive against the zombie hoard above, all within an entire alt history USA where the Civil War has dragged into a decades long Vietnam like stalemate, and where Texas is still its own independent nation as a result Dreadnought, then, from the aspect of a committed fan like me is a real treat, a story that takes place on the opposite side of the country, using what are only vague rumors in the first volume and making them the main milieu of the second, telling the tale of a Florence Nightingale type Confederate nurse right down in the front battle line itself, giving us a firsthand view of all the mechanical monstrosities both sides have invented in this steampunky alt past the story itself, then, has our hero Mercy learning of a sick father one of the main characters from the first book who was long thought dead but instead turned out to be one of these subterranean smugglers in Seattle, which leads Mercy on a series of train and zeppelin rides from the hospital in Tennessee where she works all the way across the unsettled US wastelands, while a whole bunch of stuff happens to her on the way, and where what we know as detailed facts in the first volume turn up as unsettling rumors here namely, that there s a mysterious substance that may or may not be turning people into flesh eating zombies, and that there may or may not be a group of several hundred such undead roaming the dunes of the desert Southwest.To a dyed in the wool fan like myself, such a thing is a real delight, two volumes that play an endless game of call and response with each other, and that rewards me for being a close reader of both but to those who aren t natural steampunk fans, this is not one of the exceptions to the genre like the first book but one of the ones that ll make you groan, What, another of these things , an unending mishmash of greasy locomotives and and shiny doodads, of people talking funny and concealing futuristic weapons in their frilly petticoats And that makes Dreadnought in general both what was expected and a slight disappointment or in other words, mostly just another genre novel, instead of the game changer that spanks all the other genre novels for being boring little children, exactly like Boneshaker did And that s why it gets only a limited recommendation today, although I wanted to do a full write up of it as well, to bring it to the attention of Baker Street Irregulars like me who are sure to love it, a title that like hundreds of other SF titles each year certainly isn t bad at all, but that most likely will not be winning any awards of its own, or get breathlessly commended by or Cory Doctorow like the first book in the series did It should all be kept in mind before picking up a copy yourself.Out of 10 8.4 Cherie Priest has now entered the category of writers whose works I will buy the day they re released What I love about all of her work is the characters They re people I might know Good, honest if not somewhat flawed people They work hard, stand up for what is right, and aren t worried about getting their hands dirty They may also be cranky, reserved, opinionated, or any other number of somewhat negative things Because they re so believable, I buy in and joyfully follow along with them on their adventures The world building is excellent, the plot moves briskly all in all, Cherie Priest writes an excellent adventure story Highly recommended Dreadnought is the third book in the Clockwork Century series by Priest All of the books are separate adventures in the sames universe, so they can be read alone or together There are five total books planned for this series with the fourth, Ganymede, being released in fall of 2011 and the fifth, Inexplicable, being release in the fall of 2012 This was another great addition to this series I love the world Priest has created and it was a great read.Mercy is a nurse on the Confederate side of the war and has just found out that her husband who fought on the Union side of the war has died in a POW camp Immediately after learning this she receives notice that her father whom she has not seen since she was a little girl is very sick, is in Seattle, and is requesting her presence Mercy decides to make the cross country trip to the west to see her father knowing it will be a long journey Little does she know her journey will take her through the air by dirigible, through the front lines of the war, and onto a fabulously dangerous ride on the train Dreadnought.This story is about Mercy s journey and the adventure she goes through to get where she s going Mercy like all of Priest s protagonists is a tough as nails woman who does what she needs to do to get through life She uses her nursing skills to help those in need and to get herself through tough times She is a very capable, lovable, and honest protagonist The characters Mercy meets in her travels are all very human, complex, and interesting to read about I am always thrilled with how well Priest is able to give life to even small side characters.The world of the Clockwork Century is amazing you have a world stuck in Civil War long beyond what actually happened, strange steampunk devices created to make life easier and dangerous , and a strange zombie like disease stalking the coasts of the country It is creative, believable, and absolutely engaging Priest s writing style is just all around wonderful she is an excellent writer She balances out everything so well description, action, world buildingevery book I have read of hers so far is a joy to read and this book follows that trend There is a ton of action scenes in this book and they are interesting action scenes taking place on crashing dirigibles, speeding war trains, etc This book ties in with Boneshaker than Clementine the 2nd book in the series did We get to see some of the original characters from Boneshaker interacting with Mercy towards the end of the book and the mysterious things that Mercy uncovers on her journey west also coincide with some of the incidents that happened in Boneshaker My only complaint with this book is that I thought Mercy s journey was a bit drawn out than it needed to be and there were a couple parts of the book that got a bit slow for me Because of this I liked both Boneshaker and Clementine slightly than this book still this book was a wonderful read.Overall another great addition to this series Priest is definitely a top notch writer and I look forward to reading her next two books in this series Ganymede and Inexplicable Priest is also starting an urban fantasy series next year the first book in it is Bloodshot and I will definitely be picking that book up as well. What do you get when you combine a bit of Murder on the Orient Express , a dash of old Hammer Horror movies, a slightly larger dash of modern zombie sensibilities, a sizeable helping of movies like Open Range and Tombstone , and generous portions of freshly sliced Steampunk You get Dreadnought, the third book in Cherie Priest s ongoing Clockwork Century tale And what a book it is There s a bit of everything going on in this particular novel except for romance , and it all adds up to a sum greater than its parts Action, adventure, sleuthing, horror, mystery, and a bit of North vs South ruminations are all skillfully woven into a compelling narrative, with nurse Mercy Lynch smack in the middle of it.For this outing, the entire tale is told from one 3rd person perspective, that of the aforementioned Vinita Mercy Lynch And honestly, it does the tale wonders My gripe about the lack of character background in the previous novel has been thoroughly addressed here By spending all our time with just the one character, we are allowed to learn that much about her her motivations, fears, hopes, and overall character This made for a much relateable heroine, and therefore a enjoyable read.Mercy is naturally stubborn and brave, though she tends to surprise herself with latter at times As a nurse, she s seen plenty of terrible wounds, but the horror elements she meets as the tale unfolds truly frighten and confound her She is surrounded by various supporting characters that help flesh out the story, and to help propel her into various encounters and events that test her courage and her wits From the gruff, stubborn and shrewd Texas lawman to the opinionated, but inquisitive and equally stubborn Miss Clay, Mercy is never lacking for interesting companions.As for the elements listed in the first paragraph, they are all here in roughly equal measure, and all seem to work equally well The mysterious cargo that the train is transporting is handled well, though most readers will probably figure it out before the reveal The action scenes are taut, vicious, and largely unpredictable The missing Mexican troops are used to great effect, and the sense of urgency escalates as the Dreadnought gets closer and closer to its destination The Utah scenes were also fun, simply by the virtue that I happen to live in Utah, so the locations are familiar to me.Though it started out somewhat slow, Dreadnought only got better and better as it went, culminating in a well deserved and very satisfying conclusion And yes, characters from other books do make an appearance, in a way that isn t obtrusive or unbelievable So prior reading of the previous books, while not mandatory, is HIGHLY encouraged I daresay that this is my favorite Clockwork Century book so far, and has set a very high standard that I hope the following books can attain. Received my ARC via Goodreads It s all about the journey, not the destination, in Priest s third entry in The Clockwork Universe A journey undertaken via airship, steamship and the eponymous Dreadnought, a monstrous Union war train carry guns than the Texas chapter of the NRA It s a journey with than its fair share of bumps along the way, true, but it s also a very linear one Throughout the voyage battles are fought, unsurprising mysteries revealed, rebel raiders repelled, numerous secondary characters with hazy motivations encountered, and a horde of zombie heroically disposed of Because what s a steampunk tale without a healthy dose of zombies Don t worry, we re sure the werewolves will appear next issue And throughout all these varied tribulations protagonist Vinita Mercy Lynch remains as steady and unflappable as bedrock Nothing much seems to truly shock the recently widowed Mrs Lynch, which, unfortunately, means nothing much truly shocks you Still, it s entertaining enough Three and a half stars out of five. Absolutely amazing I wasn t sure how this story was going to tie into the story from the first book, but it definitely did Another strong woman character and the alternate history of Civil War torn America world building continues Mercy Lynch, a nurse in a Confederate Army hospital finds out her husband is dead and her father is dying on almost the same day She hasn t seen her father since she was a young girl and he had left, only to disappear somewhere out west Contacted by a sheriff in Tacoma, Washington, she hears that her father may be dying, but he wants to see her, if she will come She decides to go west What she encounters, who she meets along the way, and how it all happened is rolled out in a blow by blow sequence that had me on the edge of my chair The Whole Way.