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.
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