'Boneshaker' is a steam punk novel that takes place in 19th century Seattle and involves fighting with zombies. If that description sounds good to you then you'd probably like it. Otherwise . . . And it really is that simple.
The book takes place in an alternate history where a huge mining machine (called the Boneshaker) accidentally tears through gold rush era Seattle and opens a pocket of a heavy gas called Blight. This gas slowly turns people into zombies. The remaining citizens build a 200 foot wall around the city to keep the gas and the deaders in. The rest of the country is too busy fighting the Civil War, which in this time-line has dragged on for more than fifteen years.
The son of the inventor of the Boneshaker has decided to break into the city and find some info that will vindicate his (understandably) notorious father. His mother discovers what he has done and makes her way in after him. To her surprise there is a thriving community inside of the wall, living in airtight pockets. Some of them will help her, others will get in her way. Some are under the sway of a mysterious inventor with a hidden face who bears some resemblance to her late husband.
'Boneshaker' is a fun and easy read. The formula (olde tyme + steam tech + zombies) is nothing if not current. The book was inspired in part by Seattle's underground tour, which I've taken twice and enjoyed the heck out of. But . . . well, it's a little on the light side. Some thought went into the creation of the setting but some rather obvious problems seemed to be ignored. SPOILERS - why didn't the town look for some way to eliminate the existing zombies? If fire or dismemberment can permanently take out a deader, then you'd think they would have some large scale weapons available to inflict such harm. Which would spoil the book I suppose.
I liked 'Boneshaker' and would recommend it. Seems a bit of a lightweight to actually win the Hugo though.