This had all the fundamentals for being a wonderful book: solid writing, an intriguing premise, a unique steampunk fantasy setting, several strong female characters, richly detailed alternative history and zombies. This should have been awesome. The novel is set in an alternate version of late 19th century Seattle (complete with civil war and airship pirates), after a spectacular bank-heist-related localised apocalypse has left the centre of the city completely walled-off, filled with poisonous zombie gas and ruled by one particularly vicious mad-inventor/megalomaniac who may or may not be the protagonist's father. I know what you're thinking. How can this be anything less than awe inspiring?All these elements, yet somehow, it just...... wasn't... quite...... enough. At no point was I amazed. At no point did I gasp, or chuckle, or clench my buttocks. At no point did I stay up late reading "just one more chapter before bedtime." It just didn't grab me. It wasn't bad, but it didn't deliver the awesome. My boyfriend likes to say, "Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown." In this case, I think the book was just a little....... brown.Also, I'm not sure it's a good thing for an author to end the book with a note preemptively berating readers for nit-picking historical inaccuracies. I understand the kind of reviewers Priest is targeting here, (no names, but I have a particular review of Mira Grant's "Blackout" in mind) and I have some sympathy for her cause. Statements like, "I know the facts, and every digression from them was deliberate" does, however, leave the book on a bitterly defensive note.There are a lot of things to like about this book, and it DID inspire an epic dream I had about alien zombie schoolchildren wearing respirators and riding on a conveyor belt, but I just wanted something.... more.