Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
I have to say that I was rather intrigued, as I flipped through the novel, by the illustrations peppering the pages throughout. As an illustrator myself, I decided that, perhaps, I should give the back of the book a quick read just to see what it was about—the drawings certainly boasted a captivating storyline.
Deciding it seemed worth the $9.99 price tag, I added it to my pile. Perhaps the very ‘steampunk’ cover and illustrations are what got me; in fact, steampunk seems to be my recent genre of choice: the new Avatar T.V. show (The Legend of Korra) has been running (Is it a little nerdy to say that I was an avid fan of the Avatar: the Last Airbender?), Rush’s new album (Clockwork Angels) is delightfully steampunk (Damn good album, by the way!), and now, Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan has found its way into my hands. Coincidence? I think not.
So, current minor steampunk obsession aside, it took me a while to actually get into the world of Leviathan. Now, mind you, it is quite exciting right from the get-go, I just didn’t have the time to sit down and actually read, but when I finally got a good 3-hour span of time to delve in, it was pretty difficult to put my bookmark back in.
Although the world described in Leviathan is Earth in the beginnings of World War I, the powerful twist on Darwin’s theories and the advancement of machine technology plunges the reader into a world that either could be or could have been. Scott Westerfeld’s careful twists and rich detail create a believable, as well as relatable, setting. It also helps that the story is told through alternating perspectives, giving us insight from both of the main characters: the orphaned, on-the-run prince of Austria-Hungary named Alek and Deryn, an adventurous girl who has lied and cross-dressed her way into the British Air Service.
Needless to say, these two very different points-of-view provide an adventurous and emotional ride until the two stories intersect–then it just gets better.
I won’t go further into details on this one; I don’t want to give anything away. But just some friendly advice: read this book because I just did, and I can’t wait to read the next in the series!
Later days, my friends,
-H. D. Hunter