Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

I waited so long to read this book. I'm a big Scott Westerfeld fan, but I didn't want to pay full price for the hardback and my library didn't have a copy until one day, lo and behold, there it was on the 14-day book shelf! Of course, I took it home and started reading immediately.

Leviathan is a young adult steampunk novel - that is, a book that blends historical fiction and sci-fi/fantasy, often recounting a different, more technologically advanced version of historical events. In Leviathan, World War I is just beginning, and Europe is preparing for war. The Austro-Hungarians and their German allies have Clankers in their arsenal, mechanical war machines equipped with giant guns. On the opposing side, British Darwinists fight using fabricated animals.

The book follows Alek, the Austro-Hungarian prince, and Deryn, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. When Alek and Deryn cross paths in the mountains of Sweden, they must learn - along with their fellow countrymen - to work with the enemy in order to survive.

While I have greatly enjoyed all Westerfeld's other novels, I wasn't sure what I would think of Leviathan. I'd never read anything from the steampunk genre before (in fact, I didn't actually know what steampunk was until I looked it up), and while the idea appealed to me as a fan of both historical fiction and sci-fi/fantasy, I wasn't sure if my hopes would be fulfilled. After reading this book, I certainly can't speak for steampunk as a whole, but I can and will definitely recommend Leviathan. The story and characters are captivating, Keith Thompson's illustrations are gorgeous, and the suspense was enough to keep me whizzing straight through the book. In fact, I may end up buying a hardback copy of Leviathan just for the endpaper illustrations, which will not be present in the paperback edition. I know that Leviathan is the first in a series, but I'm not certain when Leviathan's sequel is supposed to be released, or even if there is a date set at all. In any case, I will definitely be eagerly anticipating the rest of the series.


  1. Steampunk, huh? Sounds intriguing, I must give it a try.

  2. Ayushi- Yes, you must! And everything else he's written. I love Scott Westerfeld.

  3. October of this year, I believe. Called 'Behemoth' I'm looking forward to it. Also, I love love loved the illustrations in the hardback!

  4. Clover- Thanks! I knew it was called Behemoth, but had no idea when it was coming out.