Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Review: The Boneshaker

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford.

Strange things can happen at a crossroads, and the crossroads outside of Arcane, Missouri, is no exception.  Thirteen-year-old Natalie Minks knows all the odd, mysterious tales about her little town--she grew up hearing her mother tell them.  But even Natalie is not prepared for the strangeness that's unleashed when Dr. Jake Limberleg's Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show rolls into Arcane with its bizarre tonics and elaborate, inexplicable machines.

Natalie loves machines.  She's fascinated by mechanical things of all sorts, from bicycles to motorcars, and especially automata like the little clockwork flyer her dad is helping her build.  So when Natalie finally gets a close look at the machines within the intricate maze of the medicine show, she knows in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is not right...and that Arcane is in grave danger.

A magical tale of secrets and wonder and the power of one's own confidence.  The Boneshaker by Kate Milford (not to be mistaken with Boneshaker by Cherie Priest) begins with Natalie Minks in her sleepy little town of Arcane, where her biggest concern is trying to master riding her new bicycle, a bizarre contraption that her father built for her.  Natalie's life, and the lives of Arcane's inhabitants, rapidly changes as a band of strangers, claiming to be Dr. Jake Limberleg's Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show, visit their town when they loose the wagon wheel at a nearby crossroads.  "Strange things can happen at a crossroads; this much surely we have come to expect." (p. 359) The fate of the town may rest in the hands of one young girl, but will Natalie be able to stand up to true evil?  The Boneshaker abounds with creepy clockwork automatons and crossroads deals with the Devil.  An amazingly imaginative novel that will appeal to readers of all ages.

I recommend The Boneshaker to readers of young adult, middle grade, paranormal suspense, fantasy, historical fiction, and especially to fans of young adult adventure.  

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

The Boneshaker on Amazon.
The Boneshaker on Goodreads.


  1. Sounds like a good one for my classroom - thanks for the review! :)

  2. If for no other reason I need to get this book because it takes place in my home state. Aside from that it sounds fascinating and quite original in concept. Thanks for the review.

  3. Jemi,
    I definitely recommend this one for the classroom. There are no uncomfortable romantic situations and Natalie is fabulous tomboy heroine. Messages of doing the right thing are woven throughout the story, yet without being preachy. This fantastical story will capture the imagination of even the most reluctant readers.

    I love paranormal stories set in my home state. Enjoy!


  4. This sounds like a great book; I especially like that it's "true" YA . So often I find books pushed to YA audiences that have content that I don't find suitable for younger teens. This one will go on my Good Reads list for sure.

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries