5 February 2014

The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest [book review]

The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest
The Inexplicables
Written by Cherie Priest
Published by Tor UK
Paperback - 366 pages
Published February 13th, 2013
Review copy given by publisher

In a nutshell:

The Inexplicables sees the denziens of Seattle’s poisoned streets, the Doornails, welcome a newcomer into their midst. Rector Sherman wants to make his way in the world, and where better than a city filled with zombies, drug-pushing gangsters and something else entirely – the Inexplicable.

What worked:

After the spin-off adventures of Dreadnought and Ganymede, it was a great feeling to return to the poisoned city. Priest has a knack for crafting that claustrophobic, tense kind of adventure that gets the blood pumping.

I really liked Rector. He’s no hero by any means; he’s a sap-addled nogoodnik (always wanted to use that word in a review) who’s just looking for his next fix. He’s not a reluctant hero, he’s not even an anti-hero – he’s just a guy trying to survive, and in a city where the very air kills and death lurks behind every shadow, that’s what I want to see in an MC. His moral compass is skewed and at some times torn, and that’s what makes him such a compelling character.

As always, Priest’s world is flawless. There’s a reason why she’s been crowned the Queen of Steampunk, and rightly so. Her deviations from the historical norm aren’t in your face, and most have a practical edge to them. This is classy steampunk.

What didn't work:

I think that The Inexplicables had too much going on as it reached its climax. The investigation and identification of The Inexplicable was fun, but it felt like it didn’t serve any real purpose and the story would have been largely unaffected if it had been removed. This, for a book titled The Inexplicables, is a shame.

In short:

I loved The Inexplicables. It’s another stellar addition to Priest’s Clockwork Century series and a return to that special spark first seen in Boneshaker.

Would I recommend it?

A must have for any steampunk fan. If this isn't on your shelf, then I’m questioning your dedication to the cause.

Five out of five stars
5 out of 5 stars

About Jamie
Jamie Gibbs is a life-long geek and leans towards anything with sorcery, dragons or obscure pop culture references.
You can follow him on his Google+ or Twitter profiles for a daily dose of fanboy discourse.


  1. Sounds like there could've been two books if the one aspect could've been removed completely.

    1. It's a shame too, as it was a really cool aspect to add in. I wish more was done with it.

  2. I'm so behind on my Cherie Priest. But how amazing is that cover??

    1. I adore the Priest covers ... well, the US ones anyway. The UK ones are alright, I guess/

  3. The covers to her books are also very cool.

    Moody Writing

    1. Some of the nicest covers I've come across, to be honest (pipped possibly by Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight archive books and the Joe Abercrombie covers)

  4. I really need to read up on Cherie Priest - her stuff's been on my TBR list for forever!

    1. You should - it's no small wonder why she's considered the best in the steampunk genre.

  5. Sounds very cool. I've been meaning to read some Priest.

    1. Boneshaker and The Inexplicables are best, but the series as a whole is very good.


Thanks for commenting! Feel free to ask any questions you like here; I'll do my best to respond to every comment here.