I really wanted to like this one - my first real foray into steampunk, which I've always found aesthetically amusing, at least - but somehow, it just didn't do it for me. I mean, it's bursting with cool stuff and sounds like it should be really fun to read: a brilliant mad scientist, an inventor of a clockwork horror that ravaged a city; an isolated alternate Seatlle surrounded by a giant wall that keeps in a deadly gas; said gas turns people into flesh-hungry zombies; the only way to get over said wall is via a Final Fantasy-style airship; a collection of hardscrabble survivalists like the gruff lady bartender with the mechanical arm and the giant enforcer covered head to toe in elaborate armor.But somehow, none of this really grabbed me. I just kept reading, looking out for the next cool idea (the villain's lair is an interconnected series of train cars, buried underground!), but not getting involved in the story, which includes a fairly pedestrian mystery (who is the evil mad scientist?) and two dull leads (a mother's quest to save her son can probably be an interesting structure upon which to hang a zombie airship novel, but it would require interesting characters).I don't quite get it. Priest is a fine writer, and the plot clips along, but I just found a lot of it tedious, and the "solution" to the central mystery really fizzles. Plus I have no idea what I'm going to say when we discuss this in book club. It's not exactly deep in any sense of the word, just a fun (or not so fun, sadly) adventure.