Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is an awesome read! I loved every moment of this YA steampunk adventure. My only problem with it, is that the next book is not yet out.
What I loved most about this novel, is the world that Westerfeld has created. It is an alternative version of our own world, where history has progressed somewhat differently. In this world, countries are allied by their devotion to either machinery or genetic manipulation. The Clankers have a society based around the use of incredible steam-driven machines, from legged walkers to airships that roam the sky. The Darwinists, on the other hand, rely on a fantastic array of fabricated creatures, from hydrogen creating beasts for air travel to lupine tigeresques to pull their military carriages. The Leviathan of the book’s title, a whale airship, is Britain’s foremost military ship.
The novel’s plot follows the adventures of two teenagers — separate at first, but converging by the end of the book. After the assassination of his parents, Prince Aleksander is on the run from his own Austro-Hungarian people. With the aid of a few loyal men and the use of an old Stormwalker war machine, he heads for Switzerland. Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, a British girl, has disguised herself as a boy in order to join the military air service. After a mishap on her first day, she finds herself aboard the Leviathan as it heads off on a secret mission to the Ottoman Empire.
The story is set on the brink of the First World War, albeit a very different war from the one we are familiar with. Westerfeld uses many actual events and people, such as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as a springboard for his fantastical story. It’s an exciting tale with interesting characters and a fascinating setting. I found the book difficult to put down… and each time I did have to put it down, I would find myself anticipating my return to its pages.
My only disappointment, when finishing the book, was realising that it was an incomplete story and that book 2 was still a couple of months off publication. But I’ve learned to cope, as I eagerly await Behemoth, which is due out in October.
Leviathan is my first encounter with the writings of Scott Westerfeld. Yes, yes… I know… I must have been hiding under a rock or something. Of course, I’ve heard of his Uglies series, and I’ve always intended to get around to reading them… I just haven’t, yet. But now having read and enjoyed Leviathan, I’m even more motivated to read his earlier work.
Anyone else out there read Leviathan? Share your opinion of the book in the comments section below.
And tune in next time as I write about school readers.
Catch ya later, George