cover image The Inexplicables

The Inexplicables

Cherie Priest. Tor, $14.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2947-9

Rector “Wreck ’Em” Sherman is an 18-year-old dealer of and addict to sap, a narcotic distilled from the poisonous gas that destroyed the walled-in city of Seattle. Six months after the events of Boneshaker (2009), Rector has no prospects and is haunted by the phantom of a boy he’s sure he sent to die. He finds his way into Seattle, inhabited now by zombies, criminals, and the Doornails, stubborn holdouts who have scraped out a tenuous existence in the ruins, and is quickly enmeshed in strangeness and trouble as people are stalked by a monstrous being, and out-of-town criminals try to take control of the city and the sap trade. Rector’s story is an old-fashioned boys’ adventure, and Priest’s alternate 1880 is as intriguing and enjoyable as ever, but the pacing is slack, and Rector is a more passive protagonist than the vibrant leads of her other three Clockwork Century books. Newcomers would be advised to begin at the beginning. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, the Donald Maass Agency. (Nov.)