Howl’s Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Harper Trophy, c1986, 2001

Genres: Fantasy, steampunk

Series: Howl’s Moving Castle; 1

ISBN: 9780064410342

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 329

Setting: Market Chipping, Porthaven, and Kingsbury, Ingary & Wales

Time period: No stated time period in Ingary.  The Wales setting is a contemporary time.

Plot summary: Sophie Hatter was born the eldest of three – a terrible misfortune in Ingary.  While her younger sisters are sent off to learn magic and baking, Sophie is destined to run the family hat store.  That is, until the Witch of the Waste enters the store one day and lays a curse upon Sophie.  Sophie soon discovers that she has been transformed into an old woman.  To undo the curse, Sophie must leave the hat store and find someone willing to help her, but she won’t be able to speak of the curse. Continue reading

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Boneshaker

By Cherie Priest

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Tor, 2009

Genres: Fantasy, steampunk, horror, science fiction, adventure

ISBN: 9780765318411

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 416

Setting: Seattle, WA

Time period: 1880

Plot summary: In an alternate history, the Klondike gold rush began a few decades earlier and brought huge numbers of people to Seattle.  Commissioned by the Russians, Leviticus Blue built a giant drill capable of penetrating the thick Klondike ice to reach the gold below.  However, when Levi takes his Incredible Bone Shaking Drill Engine for a test run in Seattle, it has dire consequences.  Not only does the Boneshaker cause massive structural damage to the city of Seattle, it also releases a poisonous gas, later named The Blight, which causes people who breathe it to turn into zombies, or rotters.

Sixteen years later, Levi’s widow, Briar Wilkes lives in the Outskirts of Seattle, which is now surrounded by a thick, massive wall to keep both the Blight and rotters inside.  When Briar’s teenage son, Zeke, decides that he wants to try and clear his father’s name for the history records, he ventures inside the walled city.  When Briar discovers where her missing son went, she also ventures inside the wall to try and find her son. Continue reading