Book Review : Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

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Product Details
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847386741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847386748


Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Leviathan is a young adult fiction set in an alternate history World War I with Steampunk elements, wherein the Clankers are characterized by their use of mechanized war machines, while the Darwinists are characterized by their use of living creatures evolved specifically for war. The main characters in this story are the teenage son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Prince Aleksander of Hohenburg and Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service.

The story is written from two different perspectives --- Alek and Deryn's. Both of them really are great characters. Alek learns the way of survival the hard way when both his parents are assassinated and he must flee Austria or he too risks being murdered. Deryn is a spunky, intelligent and brilliant airman. However, her secret of being a girl is in constant danger of being discovered.

I think Scott Westerfeld has done a good job in presenting the characters in this story, and his rich description of the mechanical robots, fabricated animals and the "gigantic flying whale" --- Leviathan, which is actually made up of lots of different living creatures really captivates me. The story itself is full of adventures, twists and turns, political intrigues and various scientific creations. However, I think the ending of the story seems a little abrupt, with Dr. Barlow (Darwin's granddaughter) fostering three mysterious eggs, although I know that the author probably intends to explain more about that in the sequel.

The illustrations by Keith Thompson are plain gorgeous! I love them! His drawings fit the story perfectly.
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I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy steampunk and science fiction, although I have a feeling that it is mainly oriented towards teenagers (both the main characters are 15 years old). Overall, Leviathan is an entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

Rating: 4.000

My deepest gratitude to Kathryn from Simon & Schuster UK Ltd for sending me a review copy of Leviathan! Thank you, Kathryn! :)

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Purchase Leviathan at
Simon & Schuster UK
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Scott Westerfeld was born in Texas, and received a BA in philosophy from Vassar in 1985. He splits his time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Midnighters, Uglies, So Yesterday and Peeps. You can visit Scott Westerfeld's website to know more about him.

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2 creative remarks:

Palindrome said...

This has been on my list for ages, I really should just break down and buy it. I love Scott Westerfeld.

Aik said...

You will enjoy it if you're a fan of steampunk and sci-fi. :)