Rate this book

Fiddlehead (2013)

by Cherie Priest(Favorite Author)
3.97 of 5 Votes: 4
0765334070 (ISBN13: 9780765334077)
Tor Books
The Clockwork Century
review 1: I have had fun with the Clockwork Century series up until this point. They are good, pulpy, steampunk/zombie stories, of which there are far too few. This one fell short, however. Sure, there are great set pieces and pretty good descriptive writing, but it felt like Cherie Priest was phoning it in on this one. That is a pity given that it is apparently going to be the last of the series. Indeed, I get the distinct impression that Priest was tired of the series, and wanted to wrap it up, but didn't have the greatest notion of how to do so. The book hinges on the idea that the threat of the zombies created by the gas leaking out of the ground in the walled city of Seattle has become so great that, once the news is leaked, it will end the almost two decades of civil war... more between the North and South. However, the zombie menace is underplayed here. There don't seem to be hordes of the undead walking about, and while there is a major component of the plot that involves making more hordes, the threat just doesn't seem that threatening. I don't get it. What's more, the story resolves very, very quickly in the final 20 pages or so of the book, giving it all an extremely rushed and poorly detailed feel. How could the two sides just give up fighting, reunify, and bitter animosities be put aside in the flash as presented? No clue, because that wasn't addressed. Perhaps the worst part is that the story includes Ulysses S. Grant, in his third term as president, as a major point of view character and Abraham Lincoln as a supporting character. Doing this has the unfortunate effect of making it clear just how poorly the world Priest has created holds together. It isn't clear what the point of departure for the timeline was, and perhaps articulating that would have made things make more sense, but that is speculation. Grant had to have been first elected in 1864, but how? He had earned a reputation in his campaigns in the Western theater of the war by that point, but he did not have the cache he gained from his successful prosecution of the endgame of the war, but that is what propelled him to the presidency in the actual timeline. How did he get to be made president, then? If he had been more successful in the West in the Clockworkverse than in ours, perhaps, but then how could the war have gone on so long? How exactly did the Confederacy take back New Orleans? How did the Confederacy find the funds to continue the war for so long when the book makes clear that it was not getting help from the European powers? If just doesn't make sense. Moreover, the Grant she presents bears little resemblance to the one of history. In the book, he is presented as a sad drunk who nearly always has a drink in his hand. Grant had a drinking problem, it is true, but it never presented as shown here, and it is hard to see him being chronically drunk when in a position of significant responsibility. He was also a far more reticent person than presented here. Priest's Grant just doesn't read as Grant. Similarly, her Lincoln bears only passing resemblance in speech and demeanor to Lincoln. Sure, I get that I am harping on implausibilities far smaller than the presence of zombies, but those implausibilities are a major problem. I have no trouble suspending my disbelief with something like zombies, but in order to do so, the universe in which the story is set has to have a feel of authenticity that permits that suspension of disbelief to be maintained. The poor characterizations and nonsensical history kept pulling me out of the story, and that is bad thing. I had not had such problems with earlier books in the series, but there weren't major historical figures as characters in those, and the politics of the war weren't front and center, so there wasn't a constant pulling of one's attention to them. As a result, this book just didn't feel satisfying or compelling, but more annoying. It is too bad, too, because it ends up marring an otherwise fun series.
review 2: I really enjoyed the books individually but they weren't strong enough as a whole. I agree with another reviewer that the series is like candy. But this one felt a bit too much like cotton candy. Barely anyone from book 4 reappeared, Seattle was not a factor and the only characters who reappeared from the previous books were inconsequential ones. Getting all of their backstory at once felt a bit forced. Also, depending on a novella to close the series was a risk. The ties between the previous novels and this one were not strong enough; introducing the overarching villain in the final book was too late. Readers need more time to really get to understand and still hate her motives. Overall a lot of the time, I was left thinking "Who is this character and where did s/he come from?" The series had a lot of potential but missed the mark on connecting the books. less
Reviews (see all)
Nice conclusion to the steampunk century, although I wish it had addressed Seattle.
Fun and exactly what I want from a conclusion of a series about steampunk zombies.
An awesome end to an awesome series, and probably the best one since Boneshaker.
An action packed end to the series.
Write review
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)