Having come to know Cherie Priest first (through a convention) and the books she writes as a result of thinking “this is a wonderful person”, it’s quite possible that I was pre-destined to like this book as much as I enjoyed the previous book of hers read, Boneshaker. That said, Dreadnought is not the same book, but is just the same level of fascinating read. While last year’s book was set in a small geographic area and stressed character and rules of the world over action (while still including the latter very much), Dreadnought covers nearly half of the USA geographically (as the heroine rushes to the side of her dying father) as a plenitude of dangers attempt to block her travels.
This might sound a bit patronizing, but isn’t intended to: Priest writes the best action scenes I’ve ever seen from a female author, bar none. In order to qualify that statement, I’ll further say that this is among some of the very best action-based narrative I’ve ever read, including Desmond Bagley and Ian Flemming. It’s often thought that woman either can’t or don’t write action scenes, but this is bumf; it’s just more ‘manly’ to have people zipping around and shooting at each other, that’s all.
Strong female characters with Father Issues seem to be recurring themes of Ms Priest’s, and this novel is the same, with the protagonist being both a young war-widow and her father becoming estranged from the family when she was quite young; her previous novel having similar aspects to it. This is where the parallels end, however, and we have an entirely different sort of woman to root for in Dreadnought: one who must learn to act, to trust her instinct, and to take chances far in excess than she might have even imagined before. Previously a nurse acting as part of a team, in many ways now she must lead and directly influence the decisions of others.
An exceedingly wonderful book, filled with rich detail, setting, and characterization. An action-based plot to keep one interested, and train-based technology that I happen to have a fascination for. Bits of humour here and there, some zombies, plus some Civil War politics that I’d never quite got a handle on before now.
This is a book that’s good for just about anyone, but especially for a young woman who might be looking for a role model of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and down-right solid moral code.
WARNING: some language, but no more that you’ll hear standing around a 7 – 11 for about twenty minutes, or watching the occasional TV show after 9:00 pm.