Publication: October 6th 2009 by Simon Pulse
Source: Own, bought from Fullybooked
Series: Leviathan #1
Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, Historical Ficiton
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their 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.
Leviathan is set in an alternate, steampunk-y universe at the time of World War II. The story takes an interesting spin on the Axis and Allied Powers — supposedly substituting them with the heavy-duty, metal-clanking machinery crafted by the Clankers against the ungodly beasts of science created by the Darwinists. Reading about them greatly fascinated me although more than once I had a hard time following Westerfeld’s intricate descriptions. Thankfully, Thompson’s illustrations aided me in envisioning these marvellous contraptions and creatures.
Told in dual POVs, I can’t decide which perked up my interest more. We have Prince Aleksandar — on the side of the Clankers — who is on the run after his parents were assassinated. I thought his character was a bit dull in the beginning. But he eventually showed some development and maturity towards the end.
And then we have Deryn Sharp who joins the British Air Service posed as a boy. I liked her more than Alek, to be honest. I thought she was really clever and proactive. She definitely knows the ways and places of a true soldier.
Among other things, I was really engrossed with Leviathan’s world. From the beasties such as the Huxleys and the Leviathan itself, to the native dialect spoken by the characters. Westerfeld really put a lot of thought on his fantastical universe.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any problems. Tatiana on Goodreads addressed that the two voices of this novel were a bit childish for young-adult. And I sort of agree. It does feel like a middle-grade novel in some aspects of the narration.
I do plan on checking out the other books in the series. I’ve heard that there’s barking great character development happening on Behemoth. And I’m also interested to see more of what becomes of Alek and Deryn’s relationship.