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Ganymede by Cherie Priest

Ganymede by Cherie Priest
Book Name: Ganymede
Author: Cherie Priest
Publisher(s): Tor Books
Formatt: Paperback / eBook
Genre(s): Steampunk / Fantasy
Release Date: September 27, 2011

In Ganymede, Cherie Priest continues to explore an alternate universe, war torn US in the late nineteenth century. After reading and thoroughly enjoying Boneshaker and Dreadnought (and then hunting down every Clockwork Century short story I could possibly find), my expectations for Ganymede were by necessity high. That being said, I can’t report that I love the series anymore. Oh no. Now I adore it.

So the story is about Andan Cly, who would like to be a former smuggler, and Josephine Early, former flame, successful New Orleans madam and spy for the Union. She wants to hire him to pilot a ship and get it to the Union forces. The Confederacy and the Texians would rather that he didn’t.

First things first, Josephine is awesome. Really awesome. She has her social challenges of not only being a woman but a woman of mixed race and a successful business owner and on nearly all fronts she balances them extremely well. The spying for the Union seemed like a combination of a way to keep an eye on her brother as well as a way to protect her own interests. I enjoyed how she saw her home a place worth fighting for against the Texians, the Confederates and the growing zombie problem on the docks. I loved how both she and Cly parted ways amicably and with respect for each other.

Speaking of Andan Cly, I appreciated how his view of Seattle within the wall mirrored Josephine’s view of New Orleans and that he was willing to work to improve it. I also adored how awkward he was around Briar (who is still all kinds of awesome). His view of people is skewed towards ability over nationality or appearances, a useful trait when there aren’t many people around.

Plotwise, I thought that more could have been done with how Josephine’s brother Rick found the Ganymede and how he got the information to her in the first place. It would have been a nice alternative tension point to the zombies and the difficulty finding people to pilot the Ganymede. Other than that nitpick, I found it to be quite the action roller-coaster. There were more than a few cases of “you are my friend because that [insert mortal danger here] is better faced with two people than one” which made for a few interesting and unexpected team ups.

I found the zombies to be something of a distraction from the cloak and dagger, but I think I spy a long running story arc in the offing. I’m left wondering what will happen when those in charge figure out what causes the dead to get the munchies and start walking. I suspect that something akin to Prohibition will crop up except involving the yellow gas. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Regardless to the added feature of the zombies that distract from the story a bit, I really love the world building, the characters and how nicely the stories in the Clockwork Century novels interconnect without seeming overly serial. I can’t wait for the next installment.



  1. Avatar Khaldun says:

    I basically agree with your review, Liz. I haven’t read anything else by Cherie Priest, and this seemed like a good place to start seeing as the Boneshaker reviews have been mixed (and this one seems to be more widely enjoyed). Characters were fine, plot was fine. There wasn’t anything particularly amazing about this book, but it is a solid well-constructed novel in an interesting alternate universe, and I’ll definitely be checking out other books by Cherie Priest in the future.

    • Avatar Fellshot says:

      The Nice thing about all these Clockwork Century books is that you don’t need to read any of the others to enjoy each story. Each one is pretty much self contained, something I really appreciate about them as a group.

  2. D’oh. I keep meaning to read her other works in this series and I started a month ago… It seems my mind is more focused on some learning. This is a good review and gives me some ample motivation to read. Perhaps I’ll take the day off today and sit down with a good book like the old days. Thanks for sharing with us, much appreciated!

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