Cherie Priest's Boneshaker falls under a relatively unknown genre of literature: Steampunk. Steampunk is a a sub-genre of science/speculative fiction and provides accounts of alternate histories. Set in Seattle, the novel follows Briar (mother) and Zeke (son) through their own survival of their family's responsibility for the destruction of Seattle and their future. While the defining of theme can differ for many readers, perseverance seems to scream throughout the novel.
Given that the characters of the text must face the past, the present, and the future, the story's theme of perseverance is necessary. Briar believes that Zeke does not need to know about his father's past. Instead, she desires that Zeke live ignorant of the past. Undeterred, Zeke wants to know and sets out (with a gas-mask which will only last him 10 days) finds that his travels will last longer. Believing that he will only be out for a limited time, Zeke personifies perseverance. Not only that, Briar must persevere against her family's past and the place she hopes for her family in the future.