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The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller
The Mirror Empire
Kameron Hurley
The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (Audio)
Jack Weatherford


Boneshaker - Cherie Priest This book has a great premise: zombies! in a steampunk setting! with working-class mom as grim, determined protagonist! And the details of the alternate history are well worked out and really kind of cool.

Unfortunately, I didn't get much out of reading the book that I couldn't have gotten out of just hearing the premise. There's some interesting emotional tension, but it's constrained to the very end the book. Most of the text is devoted to the protagonists' encounters with zombies and various Quirky Characters (the hard-ass female barkeep with a mechanical hand, the "Indian princess" who carries a shotgun in her quiver, etc.).

Because the protagonists are so focused on their quests/each other, they don't develop much of an emotional bond with anyone else, which makes the secondary characters frustratingly one dimensional. I would have liked a slimmer, more focused book with less wandering and random encounters and more psychological and emotional depth.

The treatment of the Chinese characters also bothered me--we're repeatedly told none of the whites really know why they're in the city, which on one level is fine, but on another leaves them coming across as being there solely for our white protagonists' convenience. Need a machine fixed? The Chinese can handle it. Worried about breathable air? Don't be; the Chinese spend all their time and energy operating machines that filter it for everyone. And that's not even touching on the "inscrutable" Chinese henchman.