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Description - Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

It is the cusp of World War 1, 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 against him. All he has is a small, loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Services. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With the Great War brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780143206088
Format: Paperback / softback
(193mm x 132mm x 34mm)
Pages: 444
Imprint: Penguin Books Australia
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Publish Date: 27-Sep-2010
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

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Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - Reviewed by (23 Jun 2011)

Leviathan is a young adult fiction set in an alternate history World War I with Steampunk elements, wherein the Clankers are characterized by their use of mechanized war machines, while the Darwinists are characterized by their use of living creatures evolved specifically for war. The main characters in this story are the teenage son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Prince Aleksander of Hohenburg and Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service.

The story is written from two different perspectives --- Alek and Deryn's. Both of them really are great characters. Alek learns the way of survival the hard way when both his parents are assassinated and he must flee Austria or he too risks being murdered. Deryn is a spunky, intelligent and brilliant airman. However, her secret of being a girl is in constant danger of being discovered.

I think Scott Westerfeld has done a good job in presenting the characters in this story, and his rich description of the mechanical robots, fabricated animals and the "gigantic flying whale" --- Leviathan, which is actually made up of lots of different living creatures really captivates me. The story itself is full of adventures, twists and turns, political intrigues and various scientific creations. However, I think the ending of the story seems a little abrupt, with Dr. Barlow (Darwin's granddaughter) fostering three mysterious eggs, although I know that the author probably intends to explain more about that in the sequel.

The illustrations by Keith Thompson are plain gorgeous! I love them! His drawings fit the story perfectly.

I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy steampunk and science fiction, although I have a feeling that it is mainly oriented towards teenagers (both the main characters are 15 years old). Overall, Leviathan is an entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

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