Cherie Priest's Boneshaker exists as a Steampunk text. Steampunk texts exist as a part of the science fiction genre and typically promote an alternative history of a specific setting. Given the alternative genre, the text includes vivid and curious characters. Outside of the main characters (described later), the text includes zombies (rotters), air pirates, and mercenaries.
The main characters of the novel are Briar and Ezekiel (Zeke) Wilkes. Briar is Zeke's mother. The text follows the two characters as they alternately narrate the text.
Briar is the daughter of Maynard Wilkes and wife (widowed) of Levi Blue (the one responsible for the turmoil Seattle is facing). Her only job in life is to take care of her son, Zeke.
Zeke has been sheltered by his mother for all 16 years of his life. Briar believes that Zeke does not need to know the truth behind their families notorious past. Zeke, wanting to prove his father's innocence, sets out on a 10 day journey.
Some of the minor characters in the novel are:
Captain Cly- A pilot who Briar catches a ride with.
Princess Angeline- A Native American Indian who injures Rudy.
Rudy- a "lieutenant" who helps Zeke to find the house his family originally grew up in.
Lucy O'Gunning- A bar owner (the bar honors her father).
Jeremiah Swakhammer- A man who rescues Briar when she is attacked by rotters.