Thursday, February 04, 2010

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Plot Summary: It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Time and time again, Scott Westerfeld has proven that he can create vivid new worlds. He does it again with LEVIATHAN.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints, Deryn and Alek. Deryn is girl pretending to be a boy so she can get into the British Air Service and fly. Alek is the son of the heir to the Austria-Hungary empire. But he’s not considered royal because his mother was a commoner.

I loved Deryn. She is vivacious, determined, clever, and quick on her feet. All of these things get her both into and out of trouble. She is a character that always brings a smile to my face whenever I think of her, and so rounded she seems real.

Alek’s story is different. He’s not quite as likable, and I had a hard time figuring out why. But I think it’s because he starts out as someone of privilege who is thrown into poverty. Not many regular people can relate to that. The situation with his parents evokes some sympathy, but he has the arrogance and pride of royalty. But still, he grew throughout the story, making plenty of mistakes along the way, and that endeared him to me. I think he’ll continue to grow as the story progresses (at least, that’s what I hope).

The ending is a bit of a torturous cliffhanger, but there is some resolution so I didn’t feel like I was left completely hanging. Also, it did seem to take a bit too long for Alek and Deryn to meet, but the pacing was still quick enough to keep me turning pages. I am really looking forward to the next book, and I definitely recommend this book.

12 comments:

Marcia said...

This sounds good, Tabitha. For me, historical fiction is always a huge draw.

Tabitha said...

This is a very fun historical fiction. Many are calling it Steampunk, but I read on Westerfeld's site that he didn't set out to write Steampunk. But I think it fits. :)

MG Higgins said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Leviathan and agree with much of your review. Interesting to know that Westerfeld didn't start out intending to write steampunk; now I'm a fan of the genre.

beth said...

/shading my eyes

You're always about a month ahead of me on my reading schedule!!! I have this one sitting on my bed stand RIGHT NOW and am going to read it (after the Secret Year, ;) )

Bish Denham said...

Oh gosh, yet ANOTHER book to add to my mile long list!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I am really looking forward to reading this one. :)

PJ Hoover said...

I keep putting this off, Tabitha. Something about the WWII aspect of it. I'm not keen on reading stuff centered around wars. So should I still read it?

Tabitha said...

MG - same here. It's apparently a small following, which I just don't get. I mean, it's great stuff!

Beth - LOL! :) I think this one will be right up your alley.

Bish - the TBR pile has a way of getting completely out of hand, doesn't it? I'm feeling crushed under my pile of library books right now. :)

Shannon - it's a great book! I hope you'll come back and share your thoughts after you read it!

PJ - the story doesn't focus on the war, and there are no gory battle scenes. Plus, it's pre-WW1 (not 2). I don't like war stories, but I liked this book, so, yes. Give it a shot. I'm sure your library has a copy.

Yunaleska said...

Interesting review - I've just read this and really liked Alek.

Sliding on the Edge said...

Hi! I appreciated the review, Tabitha. Have put Leviathan on my spring reading list.

Tabitha said...

Yuna - really? That's interesting. I liked him, too, but many of the other reviews I've read didn't like him. They didn't say why, though.

Lee - It's a great story, you'll love it! Good to see you! :)

Yunaleska said...

Hi Tabitha! Yup, I liked Alek. I liked him because he did try hard to be strong and look after himself. He wasn't too arrogant, he could admit when he couldn't do something. He did what he thought best at all times. He made mistakes - but that makes him human.