Sunday, June 27, 2010

Steampunk Sunday: Leviathan

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld; Illustrated by Keith Thompson

Publisher: Simon Schuster
Pages: 434
Reading Level: 10 and Up
Enjoyment Level: High

Close friends will know that I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. I saw Scott Westerfeld in Houston before Leviathan came out and he shared a few of the gorgeous illustrations with us. It was amazing! Now it’s time to review the book…


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. The Leviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl 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 the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's 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.

I probably should’ve known this already, but the mix of fabricated animals and machinery surprised me when I started reading Leviathan. I don’t know where my mind was, I guess, but it’s nice to be surprised! Lol. The weaving of the two “worlds” in this is seamless and makes for extremely interesting reading. I also really loved seeing how fabricated animals and machinery made for opposite sides of World War I.

I can’t really say anything about the plot or characters that can’t already be summed up in the words, “Scott Westerfeld is a masterful storyteller.” If anything, I can say that I wish I was as good as he is at intertwining character and plot, giving a beautiful setting, and staying as true as possible to history in a Steampunk novel.

So I’ll also touch on the illustrations. Really, just a touch… They’re gorgeous.

It’s a little difficult to review a book that is so well-crafted. It’s art, and that is amazing to read. Oddly enough, I didn’t find the story compelling enough to finish the book in eight hours. I didn’t feel the need to stay up until I was finished with it. I suppose that I could write a lot more about that, but I won’t here. Just know that in my head, I’m wondering why Twilight did so much more to enrapture me than Leviathan, when (sorry guys) Leviathan is the superior book.

(Don’t send me hate-comments for that, lol. I love, love, love Twilight, but we must all call a spade a spade sometimes…)

I will highly recommend Leviathan, though. It’s truly a beautiful piece of storytelling, and you won’t regret reading it. This is one that I think will appeal to boys, reluctant readers, and anyone who enjoys a good tale.

Until next time, go read something good!

~ Vilate

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to read this. Glad to hear it didn't disappoint.