Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


Written by Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated by Keith Thompson
(Simon Pulse - 10/6/2009)
Series: Leviathan #1
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Format: Paperback (440 pages)
Source: Trade
Rating: 5 Stars

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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.

My Thoughts

Confession: I hadn’t even heard of Scott Westerfeld until a few years ago when I saw Marissa Meyer for the first time (and still wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Cinder – LOL), and she named him as one of her biggest influences. Since then, I’d been mildly curious about him. Sometime last year, I traded my ARC of Reboot for a paperback of Leviathan, and it just sat on my shelf collecting dust. I even bought an ebook of Uglies when it was on sale, and still haven’t opened it. And then I decided it was time to try out this Westerfeld fellow when I saw he’d be coming to Texas in October.

Clearly, I had been a fool all this time.

Pretty much, I devoured Leviathan, only stopping for short moments to either look at the illustrations in the Manual of Aeronautics or to tell my husband how cool things in the book are.

(I guess, beware of… minor spoilers? But not really, imo.)

Me: This book is so cool! There’s like these giant mech things and airships and it’s like this alternate history!

Husband: That sounds neat.

Me: OMFG They have these awesome genetically engineered creatures. There’s these giant jellyfish things that FLY! And the whole airship is actually a creature — no, it’s an entire ECOSYSTEM of creatures! And like, the creatures eat stuff and then fart hydrogren into these special compartments and that’s how it stays flying!

Him: Wow, that sounds so cool!

Me: AND they have these things called flechette bats and they feed them figs with little met darts in them. Then they send the bats out to fly over an enemy ship, guiding them with a searchlight. And then they turn the light red, and since the bats are scared of red, they shit themselves and the darts get pooped out and destroy the enemy ship! Isn’t that so cool?!!

Him: Whoa, this book sounds really interesting!

Me: I KNOW! It’s SO COOL! You have to read it!

Clearly, I had fallen in love with this book.

Ahem. In an attempt to rein in the fangirl and say something more objective about this book…

  • The world-building is obviously well done. I love everything about it.
  • The book is filled with illustrations! Every chapter has an illustration, and I think it really enhanced my enjoyment of the book, because it was so much easier to visualize all of the unique creatures and technologies.
  • The characters are rich and vibrant. They each have their own distinct personalities, but by far my favorite is Deryn. She is so freaking adorable and full of gumption I just want to squeeze her!
  • The story is fascinating and entertaining. It’s full of action and humor, as well as plenty of emotional and introspective scenes. There’s a lot of depth here that I really appreciated.

I am eagerly awaiting my copy of Behemoth to arrive so I can read the rest of the dang story! (Yes, I bought Goliath and the Manual of Aeronautics and thanks to a shipping error, my copy of book 2 came WAY later than the others. Arrrgh!)

Have you read this book? If you have — wasn’t it AWESOME? If you haven’t — WTF is wrong with you?!?!

Read 20 comments

  1. Kelley!!! I was so happy when I saw you were reading this book! I don’t think it has even half the attention it deserves. The series is amazing and I keep wishing that Westerfeld continued the series to see what happened to these beloved characters.

    The audio is incredibly good (but you miss the illustrations though). By the way, when you finish all three books, go to Westerfeld’s website and look for the “bonus chapter” *wink, wink*

  2. I HAVE NOT READ IT even though I have read the Uglies, though I did not continue on with the series because it gave me too much stress LOL. BUT LEVIATHAN SOUNDS COOL. It’s kind of steampunk isn’t it? AND WOW ILLUSTRATIONS, that just means I have to get a physical copy of it hahah.

    Awesome review Kelley!

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