The world needs more dirigibles. Thank goodness steampunk provides more.
Boneshaker, a fun novel that sets up more fun in future stories, is set in an alternate-reality, revved-up-history Seattle: a Seattle that got partly demolished and poisoned in the Civil War era, and come Priest's version of 1880 is ringed with a 20-story-high wall. Why? Read the book! Because something needs to be kept in... (...he said mysteriously. And unnecessarily, as it's on the back cover, but it's more fun to be mysterious!)
It's well-wrought, fast-moving adventure, allowed by the conventions of 19th century lit to be a little more melodramatic than maybe I was expecting. I keep wanting not to reveal too much about the plot, even more so than usual -- remember, I was proud of saying almost nothing about the plot of The Truman Show when I reviewed it -- because I'm a little worried I'd make it sound hokey, which is unfair to Priest. And c'mon, "Seattle with dirigibles" should be enough to sell you on it! It was for me.
(Crap, I have a ways to go to re-earn the title of "one of Portland's most thoughtful bloggers"...)
Would you like to know more? Cherie Priest has a website about her alt-history world called The Clockwork Century. Would you like to hear more? Boneshaker is an audio book available for download from Audible! Which is a semi-steampunk-ish name, come to think of it...