Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Leviathan
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrator: Keith Thompson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: YA (steampunk)
Why I read it/how I found it: I've been wanting to read a steampunk, and as Scott Westerfeld introduced me to dystopian, I thought having him introduce me to steampunk seemed like a good idea.

It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

First: ILLUSTRATIONS! After this book, I am determined that more YA books should have illustrations. Especially for fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk. I loved that they included illustrations in this book, as it helped me envision what they world looked like, since it was different from what I'm used to reading. I think that Westerfeld took an interesting turn with history for this, and the genetic engineering or the Darwinist English and the mechanics of the German Clankers made sense, and he built that up great.
The first half of the novel seemed to just be building up to the last half. Every two chapters or so, the POV of the third-person switched between Alek and Deryn. I kept waiting and waiting for them to finally meet. It took about half the book, and I feel that's when the story really started picking up, at least for Deryn. 
I have to say, the most entertaining part for me was Deryn hiding the fact she's a girl, and I have a feeling that in the sequels that will get more interesting with Alek.

Other information: This is the first in a trilogy. Scott Westerfeld's website is here and Keith Thompson's is here.


  1. I've really been wanting to read some steampunk. Thanks for the suggestion!


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