Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld has been on my radar for ages now, and since the entire trilogy is finally released I decided it was high time I sit down and get to reading! I am so glad I did, because I absolutely loved the story! The world in this book is spectacular and I’m thrilled to know that I still have two books ahead of me so I don’t have to leave it yet!
The setting is an alternate reality take on the events of WWI. Many things stay the same – such as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. But my goodness are there changes! I love steam punk and this is, by far, one of my favorite takes on it. We have two warring factions of technology: the Clankers and the Darwinists. The Clankers put their faith in machinery – like huge walking destroying machines and eight-legged tanks. The Darwinists use strands of DNA to create all kinds of ridiculously cool species. Like a flying whale complete with an ecosystem that keeps it airborne. Seeing actual battles between Clanker machinery and Darwinist animals is seriously awesome. This would be a great book to recommend to guys!
Speaking of all the machinery/animals…almost every review I’ve seen mentions it so I won’t spend too much time on it – but the illustrations are brilliant. They add a lot to the story.
The only place the book suffers at all is the characterization. There is so much set-up and world building in this book that the characters suffer just the slightest bit. Not enough to seriously annoy me, but it is an issue. I’m thinking that it’ll be taken care of in the next books since so much of the necessary build-up/introductions into the world are taken care of. And – that being said – I still loved the characters!
Deryn is amazing, if Tamora Pierce wrote steam punk she’d be proud to call Deryn hers! She refuses to let the fact that she is a girl keep her from piloting, so she pretends to be a boy and joins the British Air Service. Alek is the (fictional) son of Archduke Ferdinand, so when his father is assassinated his world is turned upside down. The book switches back and forth from their POVs, and a little more than halfway through they finally meet. An unlikely and tenuous friendship forms between the two that will take us into the next book of the trilogy. (And if you’re wondering about romance – the answer is no. As far as Alek knows, Deryn is a guy!)
I am pretty accustomed to books having bad language – it isn’t something that normally bothers me overmuch even though I try to mostly refrain myself. But, apparently, when the author makes up the words, it becomes about seven times as annoying. Dylan literally called just about everyone she knows a “bum-rag” about ten times. It was pretty much the only insult she used besides throwing around the word “clart” with it most of the time (think “clart-filled bum-rag” and then use your imagination and I’m guessing you can figure out what it means). By the end of the book I was pretty sick of it. Small nit-pick really, but I guess you can credit it to how much I loved Leviathan that I had to dig so deep to find another fault with it!
So anyway, I think I’ll cut myself off now before my review starts looking as long as the book. But seriously y’all, if you haven’t picked it up – do so! The world is amazing and you’ll be swept away into the world of fascinating machinery and incredibly detailed DNA-spliced animals in no time. I highly recommend this to everyone – guys and gals of any age!