Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: 6th October 2009
Aleksander's life has been turned upside down. His parents have been killed and now he's on the run. Alek isn't any old orphan though; his father, Archduke Ferdinand, was ruler of the Austria-Hungary Empire and his death has opened up an opportunity to start a war. A chance for the Clankers to take over the world with their futuristic machines
On the other side of the war is Darwinist Britain, users of advanced biotechnology. Midshipman Dylan Sharp of the British Air Service isn't an average soldier either. Dylan's real name is Deryn and she's a girl. A girl in a time when there were no females in the armed forces.
Circumstances lead to Deryn and Alek forming a necessary alliance and eventually a friendship as they become part of an alternative Great War.
Wow! I'm not really sure how I'm going to do justice to this bundle of awesomeness. Yet again, Westerfeld's amazing writing doesn't fail to please in this alternative history of World War I, fusing old with new in an epic steam punk adventure!
I loved the two main characters of Leviathan. Westerfeld has a certain way of making truely likable characters but ensuring that they aren't perfect. They make mistakes and sometimes don't make the best of choices but this just makes them more realistic. Deryn has just enough kick-ass and gutsy determination to get her through a bunch of tough challenges but there's also a certain vulnerableness about her. Alek is well-educated and trained to a high level in combat with an air of pompousness about him that's to be expected from someone of his position but the longer he's on the run he learns to become more down to Earth.
At the start of the book, Deryn is sceptical about Clanker machineray and Alek is boardering on repulsed, or even scared, by the fabricated animals grown by the Darwinists. Essentially the story is about the coming together of these two opposing technologies and ideas.
If the great writing and exciting plot isn't enough, the illustrations throughout the Leviathan are truely amazing! Normally I'm not particularly a fan of illustrated books as I like to apply my own imagination to the story but I'm happy to make an exception in this case. With the futuristic machines and weird and wonderful animals, the illustrations complimented the written descriptions fantastically. I think I may have had troble getting my head around the Leviathan air ship without them!
It's hard to find fault with Leviathan but if I had to pick one thing that might not appeal to some readers is that it's very heavy on descriptions of the technology, science and battles. Personally I loved it but this aspect might not suit everyone.
Other reviews of Leviathan
Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks
Teens Read and Write
The Little Boorkworm
Also check out Scott's blog for more awesomeness!