Title: Leviathan (Leviathan #1) Author: Scott Westerfeld Publication: 2009, Simon Pulse Summary: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
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....read more
Review: This book would be a very classic example of YA steampunk and as a fan of historical fiction, I really appreciated the WWI alternate history that was pulled off here. "Leviathan" has some great world-building and Scott Westerfeld's creativity soars in the moulding of a completely different outlook on the Great War "Leviathan" is told from two different POVs, one of the 15-year-old Austro-Hungarian prince Aleksander and the other of a British girl named Deryn Sharp. Mr. Westerfeld kept the pacing really even overall and we get to see the world and situation in "Leviathan" in equally sized chunks from both pairs of eyes. Both main characters have dimension, however I did not find them to be engaging to a satisfying extent. Third-person POV was used for both Alek and Deryn and I felt that that resulted in both of them being kept a distance away from me as a reader. Although that's not the only factor, that definitely didn't help. Don't get me wrong, they were likeable and nicely shaped but neither truly pulled me along or felt memorable to me. I also felt that it was probably because I was a bit old for these characters. This book was a long ride for me, not only because it does have quite a high page count, but also because the atmosphere wasn't intense enough for me to keep trudging along. I took a ton of breaks in between chapters and it didn't bother me to put the book down, sadly. There was nothing wrong with the pacing, but the whole story felt very detached, a bit like what happened with the characters. I'll be utterly honest and say that I'm not one to be very excited about science-fiction, and this is my first YA steampunk read. I thought that Scott Westerfeld did a great job in getting his visions of his world across clearly for the most part because someone who has a weaker imagination for sci-fi was able to follow along. (tell me to conjure up fairies and mermaids and I'll be able to do that, no problem. A great big robot-like war ship? Uh oh.) Yet, of course, it wasn't perfect and although it was possible for me to see the vividness, it wasn't amazingly clear or grasping and it did take me a long time to truly understand what the author was trying to pull off. Which brings me to my favourite part of this book. The illustrations. They. are. awesome. I don't mean to down-talk the book itself, but I'll say quite frankly that without the illustrations, I would not have made it through this book. Kudos to Keith Thompson because his artwork really captured the essence and important details of Scott Westerfeld's universe to a huge extent and as a reader, I was grateful for that extra visual embellishment to the book. Even though "Leviathan" was a relatively slow read for me personally, I still enjoyed the journey because the premise painted here really is quite genius. I may not be one to fully appreciate and experience the wonders of sci-fi steampunk to full potential, but I still have the feeling that this book would be a great standard example of what a good steampunk novel should be like. The imagery presented was incredibly broad and stretched my imagination and Keith Thompson's illustrations added much more as well. Overall, still an entertaining ride that had me looking up the sequel. Ratings:✰✰✰ 3.5 Darwinist Hoots (because Vivi's Team Darwinists)
Final Notes:I've already got the second book sitting on my shelf, purely because honestly, this book wasn't that bad. I do think that the ideas were really clever and well thought out. It's just that I hate science (I'm sorry...most hated subject ever, from grade school to high school.), so I don't really enjoy science fiction, so I wasn't really able to connect with this genre.
My personal bias aside, I think that steampunk fans can really appreciate this alternate world. It's smart and it's good. Plus the illustrations are really great! (I had to say that again >_<) Thanks for reading! ♡ Vivian
P.S. Hourray for first post of 2013! Happy New Year (again) everyone!!
Hello, I'm Vivian! ❤ Welcome to my book blog, where I indulge in sharing my reviews of the numerous books that come across my literary path. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find something to your liking here.