Book Review: The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest

The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest

  • Method of Obtaining: My copy was provided by the publisher.
  • Published by:  Tor Books
  • Release Date:  011.13.2012

Rector “Wreck ’em” Sherman was orphaned as a toddler in the Blight of 1863, but that was years ago. Wreck has grown up, and on his eighteenth birthday, he’ll be cast out out of the orphanage.

And Wreck’s problems aren’t merely about finding a home. He’s been quietly breaking the cardinal rule of any good drug dealer and dipping into his own supply of the sap he sells. He’s also pretty sure he’s being haunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know—Zeke Wilkes, who almost certainly died six months ago. Zeke would have every reason to pester Wreck, since Wreck got him inside the walled city of Seattle in the first place, and that was probably what killed him. Maybe it’s only a guilty conscience, but Wreck can’t take it anymore, so he sneaks over the wall.

The walled-off wasteland of Seattle is every bit as bad as he’d heard, chock-full of the hungry undead and utterly choked by the poisonous, inescapable yellow gas. And then there’s the monster. Rector’s pretty certain that whatever attacked him was not at all human—and not a rotter, either. Arms far too long. Posture all strange. Eyes all wild and faintly glowing gold and known to the locals as simply “The Inexplicables.”

In the process of tracking down these creatures, Rector comes across another incursion through the wall — just as bizarre but entirely attributable to human greed. It seems some outsiders have decided there’s gold to be found in the city and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get a piece of the pie unless Rector and his posse have anything to do with it.

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My Review:

If there is a series that I am an evangelist for, it’s Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century books.  The moment any friend expresses an interest, passing or intent, the first word out of my mouth is Boneshaker.  I have been reading Priest’s books since Boneshaker was released and while some are stronger than others, each of them is enough to fan my addiction to her writing to an even higher level.  The Inexplicables is no different.

Imagine my delight when I began reading and was immediately transported back to the world of Zeke and Boneshaker.  I knew I recognized the name of Rector “Wreck-em” Sherman and soon it became apparent why.  I may or may not have giggled a bit as I dove back into the dangerous world of Seattle and read about names that I not only know, but know intimately from their stories in the previous novels.  It felt like I was greeting old friends.

I have a habit of putting books by favorite authors aside until they meet one of two criteria.  1. That they have another book out that I can put in the bank for the perfect day, or 2. that I just can’t hold off and desperately need a fix.  Reading The Inexplicables met both of those criteria – but mostly when I saw that Fiddlehead was being released (and it’s the final installment, y’all – I’m heartbroken) I knew it was time to dive in.

Reading the books of The Clockwork Century is an experience.  The pages are soft, the typeface is sepia, there is artwork at each chapterhead and the books are pleasant to hold in the hand.  And then there’s the story.  Rector’s story in The Inexplicables is one of intrigue, addiction, reaching the bottom and climbing up, forming friendships and maintaining them, independence, and finally heroism.  There’s so much action, a touch of romance that had me laughing out loud with delight, and – of course – loads upon loads of steampunk goodness.

I am fairly certain that Priest has infused her books with her own fictional sap because that’s how addicted I’ve become to this world.  I dread saying goodbye to it with Fiddlehead, but in the meantime I’ll continue to crusade for it and bask in the non-fatal, totally normal (right?) afterglow of having read a book by one of my favorite authors.

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