Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1) Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In an instant, Prince Alek’s life changes forever. His father Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his mother are assassinated while visiting Serbia. On the run with a few of his father’s most trusted men, Alek seeks to escape from those who would kill him or make him a pawn.

Dylan Sharp, a young Midshipman aboard the Leviathan is more than he appears to be. Dylan is actually Deryn, a girl who longed to fly who disguises herself as a boy in order to enlist in the navy. When the Leviathan is attacked by the Germans and forced to crash land in Switzerland, Deryn meets a most unusual young Austrian who may or may not be her enemy.

In a world where Darwinist creations such as the whale of the Leviathan roam the skies, and Clanker machines walk on two, four, six, or even eight legs, you never know what will happen next.

Westerfeld refers to this book as being steampunk, a mixture of history, and science fiction. Where advanced technology may appear in an historical era. That is indeed the best description of what this novel is. It takes place right at the start of World War I, after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife.

While the book was action packed, it did take a while to get used to the world Westerfeld has created. The book has interesting drawings to accompany the text which is helpful in visualizing the world Westerfeld created.

An audio version of this book is available in the teen book section.  The audio is well done and very engaging.  The only downside to listening to the audio is that you miss out on the interesting (and sometimes helpful) illustration that pepper the text.  The illustrations help the reader visualize the machines, but even this did not detract from the quality and interest of the audio.

Overall, I felt this was an fascinating book, but I found the ending a bit abrupt.  Since this is the first book in a series, I am anxious to see how this story will end. In some ways it reminded me of Eoin Colfer’s Airman, a book I also enjoyed. I just wish I had gotten more of a concrete ending to this book. I will pick up the next though, since I have to know what happens next.

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