Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk (isn't that the most fantastic name)
Length: 440 pages
Rating:

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.

Review: I really, really wanted to like this book. I think the concept is fantastic, and this book had the chance to be wonderful. But it ended up being just okay. I couldn't really get into the story or bring myself to care what happened next. The concept and plot, though, were good enough to keep me reading the book, and I think I'll pick up the next book in the series when it comes out to see if the characterization and flow improve.

First, I love the idea of World War I as a battle between "Darwinists," who biologically engineer boats and aircraft, and "Clunkers," who build with mechanical engines and parts. It's such a clever take on history and it's interesting to read about. I was constantly working out what had changed from real history and what had stayed the same, which was very entertaining to do.

The characters were a little shaky. They did have unique personalities, but I thought they were a little bit boring--I've seen them before. And one of the characters talks in a ridiculous accent that annoyed me every time I read it. I understand that it's important to capture the time period and the way someone talks is part of that, but it seemed over the top to me, and I've read a lot of characters with accents.

If you like the premise of this book, I would recommend you read it just for that. If you don't find the premise interesting, I wouldn't read it, because there isn't much else to make you enjoy the book.

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4 comments:

  1. Wow, that summary is interesting. It does sound like something that I might like- I hope the accent doesn't bother me too much! I haven't read many books lately with different dialects and all that.

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  2. Enjoyed reading your review, it's too bad that the book isn't too great, because the cover is beautiful! I'm not sure about the premise either, so I think I'll lay off this one for a while.

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  3. I loved this book, and my students have also all really liked it, but everyone has agreed that it took a while to get into it. Most of us were lukewarm until the two main characters meet up, because only then does it really start moving. I'm hoping the sequel moves a little faster.

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  4. I heard some great things about this book and I started listening to the audio book, but about half way through I got bored with it. I also found Deryn to be rather obnoxious which out me off, though I think I might want to try reading this book and seeing if I like it more that way.

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