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

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.

****Barnes and Noble****Official Website


  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.