Monday, December 16, 2013

YAck Attack: The Boneshaker by Kate Milford

Published: May 24th, 2010
Clarion Books

Add It - Goodreads

From Goodreads: Thirteen year-old Natalie Minks loves machines, particularly automata — self operating mechanical devices, usually powered by clockwork. When Jake Limberleg and his travelling medicine show arrive in her small Missouri town with a mysterious vehicle under a tarp, and an uncanny ability to make Natalie’s half-built automaton move, she feels in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is a bit off. Her uneasiness leads her to investigate the intricate maze of the medicine show, where she discovers a horrible truth, and realizes that only she has the power to set things right. 
The Boneshaker is a gripping, richly textured novel about family, community, courage, and looking evil directly in the face in order to conquer it.

Melissa: I finished Boneshaker today (driving down to Austin; btw, Holly is a very lovely person), and was actually quite impressed. Maybe it was the audio book, but I thought it was a lot of fun. Though could someone tell me if there's a name for "meeting the devil and kicking his butt" stories?

Donna: Satan Stompers?

Heidi: I just finished it this afternoon! I personally really enjoyed it as well. I really love folklore based fantasy, and I thought this one had all the right creepy edges. I'd put it in the same camp as The Book of Lost Things, actually. The writing didn't have quite so many WORDS, but I still found myself completely wrapped up in the imagery and am utterly convinced this would make an awesome Miyazaki film.

Melissa: AGREED, Heidi, about the Miyazaki film. Also: Faustian bargains.

Nicole: Finally got past chapter one - damn schoolwork - and I can't be the only one who was singing this throughout the end of chapter three, right?

Heidi: Nope...that was in my head a large part of the time I was reading. My copy also came with two pretty cool postcards inside, the first for Boneshaker and the second for The Broken Lands (the prequel). Thought that was a nice touch.

Melissa: YES. I totally had that song running through my head while I listened to this book.

Donna: I couldn't help but think of HBO's Carnivale, which is a grossly inappropriate comparison except for the whole carnival attraction/god/devil aspect. BONESHAKER was rather absent any teenage prostitutes with pimps for parents.

Chachic: I'm about 35% into the book and I'm still waiting for the story to suck me in. Finding it a bit slow but maybe I'm just not in the mood for this book.

Melissa: I wondered, as I was listening to it, if it was that the book was really good, or if it was just the narrator. It's hard to tell with audio books, sometimes.

Donna: I like it. It was an entertaining story that I was afraid was going to take the cheap, preachy way out but it didn't. It actually got pretty dark which made me love it a little more. But you're right, Chachic. It's difficult to get sucked in. It kept me away just enough to not get invested in the characters and LOVE it. But it was nice.

Chachic: I plan to keep on going so I'll keep Donna's comments in mind. Hopefully, I'll like it better as I read more chapters.

Melissa: I do think that there was too much talk about bicycles at the beginning, and there was too much set up. But once it gets going, it GETS going.

Chachic: At which point in the book does it get going? Halfway through?

Melissa: I can't tell you the actual page number (audiobook!), but after the carnival gets set up. From there to the end, it's pretty gripping.

Melissa: (I thought.)

Chachic: Okay, i just got to that part. They've just started exploring the carnival.

Melissa: Things Will Be Revealed (unless you guessed them already?) and, as Donna said, it gets dark. It's good.

Chachic: Haha I don't think I've made any accurate guesses yet but we'll see.

Steph: It also gets a thumbs up from me although I think nice is probably the best word to use. I was 53% through on the kindle before I had any feeling of being sucked in which was a real shame but the momentum certainly builds from there. I'm still not totally sure if I like Natalie, a little bit "hands on hips stamping of feet" at times for me but I thought are Dad was great. Definitely gets dark latterly and I totally get the Carnivale references, also made me think of The Night Circus. But overall a lot of fun.

Heidi: I agree--it's slow going in the beginning. If I were to write an actual review I'd make some trussed-up analogy to a wind up automaton that starts out slow and then starts moving pretty frantically until it falls over. I think I spent a week reading the first half, and read the last in one sitting.

Like Donna said though, while I found the story gripping and loved how dark it was, I never really became deeply attached to the characters.

Also yes on Carnivale.

Donna: I find it funny that there really aren't too many people that can write that age really well, twelve, thirteen years old, either for boys or girls. Authors either age them too old or young and you end of with someone like Natalie who reads more like she's 11 or something out of a Dawson's Creek episode that you can't suspend your disbelief for. Miranda, I thought, was more accurate for her age and I do think Natalie was a bit immature. Especially considering the time I would figure children wouldn't actually be able to be children for that long.

Heidi: Natalie did seem more like 11. I was actually pretty surprised when I began reading, because I really thought this was YA but it comes across much more as MG. I suppose it's that middle ground that's as awkward to write as it is to live in. I feel like you never really WANT to be more grown up than when you're 12/13, and you struggle with still getting treated like a kid.

Authors that do write this age really well? I'd say Phillip Pullman's Lyra is the best example I can think of.

Some of my favorite MG authors even struggle here or avoid this age...Frances Hardinge's characters could be this age but are usually younger, Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs I think would be a good 12 but is also younger, even September in Cat Valente's Fairyland series which I love I didn't really feel FELT her age until the latest where she's 14.

Chachic: I agree that the book reads more like MG than YA. I was even thinking that maybe that's why I wasn't enjoying it as much as I was expecting. But then I HAVE enjoyed MG novels in the past (like Frances Hardinge and Cat Valente) so I realized that wasn't it.

Chachic: I finished it last night. The pace does picks up once you reach the halfway mark and I agree with the word "nice" to describe the book as a whole but I don't think it will leave a lasting impression on me. I wasn't invested in Natalie as much as I would like.

Melissa: I don't know that I was invested in the characters as much as I was in the mood of the book. But, my 13 yo is reading it and she's complaining it's too slow. So, maybe my experience with the audiobook was better than just straight up reading it?

Chachic: Maybe that had something to do with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment