I've read Cherie Priest before but only her urban fantasy series Cheshire Red Reports which was pretty fab. Boneshaker is an example of early steampunk, and it's simply fantastic.
Intense, gripping, gritty. There are no flourishes here, nothing extra, everything is simple and pure. It's drab and deadly, and the whole plot reads more like post-apocalyptic fiction with shabby ruins of an abandoned city, toxic gas, hordes of undead and underground tunnels full of criminals, smugglers and just queer folk.
I absolutely loved it! Boneshaker reads in one breath, there is so much energy and drive here. The characterization is unbelievably good. I did not see a single token character. Everyone is full of life and little odd traits that make human beings so unique.
Briar seems like a pretty dry, rigid character at first. She is 37 and works really hard to provide for her teenage son. She is also a social outcast because her late husband destroyed Seattle with his Boneshaker machine and started all the mess. However when her teenage son decides to slip into the city to find proof that his father wasn't a criminal and then the earthquake destroys the tunnel he used to get inside, she becomes this fury, a woman on the mission and will do anything to save him.
Zeke is a fab character as well. Through most of the book him and Briar are separated from each other, both having their own adventures and being worried sick about each other, but their love, their strong family ties are obvious and when they are together they are pretty unstoppable.
There is a sense of rightness about this book, it reads like a really good action movie and leaves you entirely satisfied with the ending. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the books in this series, and recommend you to do the same.