[Book Review] Ganymede by Cherie Priest

With NaNoWrimo now over, we now return to our normal broadcasting like book reviews!

Cherie Priest‘s fourth novel set in the Clockwork Century Universe deals with the city of New Orleans, Texas, Air Pirates, Zombis and a submarine called Ganymede.

Several characters from the other books make their appearance in this book from Seattle Crew from Boneshaker (which has just been optioned to be made into a movie) to new characters.

And, for the most part it works and for the most part it does not.

The world of Boneshaker continues to widen and for the most part the world continues to be enjoyable. I have not dipped into the alt. history bag much but for the most part I throughly enjoy the world that Priest has built and while I am not a history buff by any means her description of a war that should have ended ten years ago is enjoyable without being as dry as a history class.

Substituting for Seattle this time through is New Orleans, a city that has several problems: The first being Texas is occupying the city and there are zombis out in the marshes. The zombis are out of sight, out of mind until two of the Southern Commanders bite it and are quickly replaced and curfew is put into effect. The third problem that is unmentioned is the fact that the South is looking for a fabled submarine named Ganymede that has killed more sailors than her weapons because no one understands how to drive the damn thing.

Andan Cly, former Air Pirate and his crew of the Naamah Darling are recruited by Andan’s old lover, Josephine Early, to get the sub out of it’s current locale, down the Mississippi and into open water so the North can pick it up and figure out if Ganymede is worth it all.

The set up for the book is rather good and the call backs to the previous books fit well together. The setting of New Orleans is an interesting one and the idea of a giant sub going into battle against the South and Air Pirates sounds like a great idea.

The overall problem is: the book is about 60 pages shorter than Boneshaker and Dreadnought. Sometimes less is better but in this case, the book started getting nail biting in the last thirty pages and thirty pages consisted of an entire chapter towards the end.

If the action had gone on longer it would not have bored us. And, since the Zombis aren’t the main bad guys in this book, the South is and the Southern Commander is given a brief introduction and then is no longer seen for the rest of the book except for his actions of destroying the Pirate’s Bay looking for Ganymede and I think that’s where part of the problem lies: So far, the Clockwork Century books are Third Person POV and Cherie gives great third person. As naughty as that sounds, her third person in Clementine moved the plot along quite well without boring me. But, many of the actions Ganymede are heard about until the characters are pulled into the action instead of being already in the action.

The trek from the marshes into town and then launching Ganymede into the river was handled almost too quickly and the tension I felt was non-existant while Josephine is worried about her wounded brother for pages, I thought more pages could have been used established more scenes to ratchet things up a bit.

The Zombis I mentioned earlier are used effectively enough without being a crutch. Most of the supporting characters are rememberable until one of them, probably one of the more interesting of the supporting characters dies and so does the plot with the Zombis until the end of the book where our favorite Ranger from Dreadnought is given some pages to act in instead of info dumping all over Josephine.

In the end, the book was a fun read but left no major impression on me except for feeling like a side trip to move characters into place for the next novel. A novel I await in both deadtree and ebook form.

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