Leviathan

 
4.0
 
4.7 (4)
2166 1
Leviathan
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 06, 2009
ISBN
1416971734
Buy This Book
      
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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Fun YA Steampunk Tale
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Once again, Scott Westerfeld brings readers a fascinating world where technology rules. His newest book LEVIATHAN is an alternative world where Darwinist creates fabricated animals as weaponry right before World War I.


Alekandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run after his parents are murdered. He goes into hiding with some of his loyal servants. All the while afraid for his own life.


Deryn Sharp is a girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to be in the British Air Services. Shes good at her job but still the threat of her real identity is an everyday fear.


Then an accident has both Alek and Deryn meeting. Should they trust each other? Both are on opposite sides. Alek doesnt trust the Darwinist creations while Deryn has her own prejudices of the clankers. Add to this the Leviathan, a fantastic ship of true Darwinist measures with a secret mission.


I really enjoyed this tale. Westerfelds creatures, weapons, and world are truly imaginative! This is a fun YA steampunk tale where science fiction meets fantasy. I love how he was able to take the whole what if scenario of Darwin meeting our world. Readers will be riveted by each page. The illustrations are great too. One of my favorite scenes, besides the Leviathan ship, is the Huxley, a living medusa that takes riders airborne. Also the whole premise of living animals helping the Leviathan ship to work is totally amazing.


Aleks struggles after his family is murdered and his conflicts on whether or not hes ready to be ruler are believable. I felt Deryns awe of the Leviathan. Who wouldnt be fascinated?


I hope a sequel is in the works. Id love to find out more of both Alek and Deryns adventures. A must read for all Westerfeld fans and those who love a good steampunk tale.
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User reviews

4 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0  (4)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
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Creative!!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Leviathan is a book set in World War Two, but is set in a place that is sorta like a parallel universe. Where the German side uses steam-powered warships, and are called Clankers, and the English, also called the Darwinists, who use fabricated beasts made from pre-existing animals. Some of the pictures of the Darwinists animals are quite...., well disturbing, and they might make you feel quite queasy.

I love the idea of this book! I loved how Scott Westerfield made Deryn a girl disgusing as a boy. I love characters like this, it makes them so determined to do what they feel is right, and to rebel against the stereotyped thinking of girls in this time.

I loved both of the main characters, they both were very different, and I liked that so much. I think this book was amazing, and I hope that my library has the next one in it somewhere. I hope...
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Most Imaginative Read of 2010
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Okapi

Before Leviathan, steampunk was obscure to me, nothing more than an undefined sub-genre lurking in the background. Now, this fantastical novel, featuring two heroic protagonists and a living whale airship, has awakened me to the wonders of steampunk fiction, a science fiction/speculative book set in the past, usually in the nineteenth century. Scott Westerfeld exceeded all my expectations by crafting a world interlaced with history and futuristic science, teaching me about the confusions of World War I while sparking ideas about the possibilities of creating artificial life. The alternate history timeline, brimming advances in evolutionary science, one of my favorite things in the world, will rouse the imaginations of readers of all ages.

My most beloved books drip with setting, the plot taking place in vivid or unusual locations. The majority of Leviathan'splot unfolds in a highly unique setting, aboard the Darwinists' massive, hydrogen fueled whale airship, from which the book gets its namesake. It's obvious from the meticulous, facinating descriptions of the airship that Scott Westerfeld knows and loves what he's writing about. The tidbits of military terminology will engross both adults and children alike. While not aboard the Leviathan whale airship, the settings are still rich and stunning; journeying through the frigid, desolate Alps, or soaring through the vast skies of early nineteenth century London. The intricate illustrations, though sometimes slightly childish, assist my imagination in picturing the impossible. Without them, it would be hard for me to visualize correctly a giant soaring, breathing whale airship, complete with balconies and verandas. I might struggle to picture the giant walkers that Alek and his loyal crew men journeyed in. With at least one per chapter, the illustrations appear with frequency and give me flashes of nostalgia, as they remind me of those classic old adventure books that I used to read in my younger days.

Told through the alternating two viewpoints of Deryn and Alek, this book's plot drives on with a fast pace, since action is constantly happening to at least one of the narrators. When they meet in the middle of the book, the plot starts to flow even more smoothly, the two perspectives melding into an even more interesting tale. Imagination, not emotion, has always been Scott Westerfeld's aptitude, so I wasn't surprised to find that the character's emotions do not run very deep. However, the characters are still complex. Both the protagonists have their flaws, though end up being likable. Known to the crew as Dylan, Deryn Sharp, a daring airman with an even more daring secret, is cocky and very real. Aleksander Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, can be slightly illogical and arrogant at times, exposing himself and his crew of men to danger on numerous occasions, though eventually develops into a likable person. The two build an endearing relationship, setting aside their differences to become trusting friends. Their endless bickering is entertaining, reminding me of Ron and Hermione's relationship in Harry Potter.

Like every good book, readers can learn important things fromLeviathan. The stark contrast between the Austro-Hungarian Clankers, who build huge, steam-powered machines for weaponry, and the British Darwinists, who evolve animals for battle purposes, shows a perfect example of two very different cultures, each who finds the other to be very strange. At first, Alek, heir to a Clanker driven empire, recoils at the sight of living Darwinist beasties, finding them to be very disgusting and scary. When Deryn takes him into the Leviathanairship for the first time, Alek exclaims, This is... disgusting! We're inside an animal! Deryn laughs and retorts, Aye, but the skins of your zeppelins are made of cattle gut. That's like being inside an animal, isn't it? And so's wearing a leather jacket!...[B]eing inside a dead animal is much more awful, if you think about it. You Clankers really are an odd bunch. On the other hand, Deryn, a Darwinist, shudders at the thought of manmade, heartless Clanker machines. However, they both come to realize that each group has a lot to learn the other's fortes. In order to achieve their goal, Deryn and Alek must cooperate and use a combination of Darwinist and Clanker technology. This shows that combining the strengths of different cultural groups is a vital idea for a successful modern world, where diversity has never been more important than before.

Overall, Leviathan is an astoundingly hearty and refreshing read that will fuel the daydreams of readers of all ages. With the crisp writing, engaging plot, likable characters, and pure imagination, readers will immerse themselves in this book. It ends satisfyingly, while maintaining enough mystery so that readers will be excited for the sequel Behemoth, releasing in October, 2010. It's one of the books I'm the most excited for this year; I can't wait to dive back into Deryn and Alek's world of Clanker contraptions and Darwinist beasts. Leviathandefinitely makes me want to read more steampunk novels!
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Awesome adventure( NONSPOILER REVIEW)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Jamie

This is an action packed  book . It was an amazing twist on the world war 1  but more futuristic dystopian   kind of vibe. Alex ferdinand  the duke of germany is on the run his parents got killed and it's the year 1914 the year of world war 1 but this is a whole different kind of war also Alex got betrayed by his people his title meant nothing. Germans are known as clankers who  fight with machines with machine guns. England was the Darwinist who fought with beasts one of their famous airships  is known as Leviathan .Deryn sharp  commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She''s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.An adventure you wouldn't want to miss.
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Great alt. history, steampunk goodness for YA
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Misty (Book Rat)

Leviathan is an alternate history, steampunk inspired tale of WWI.  It
centers around Alek, the fictional 15 year old son of Franz Ferdinand,
whose murder was the spark that ignited the war.  Alek is awoken in the
night to find his world has been turned upside down, and he is now
hunted by his own country.  Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, a 15 year old
English girl who wants to be an airbeast pilot, disguises herself as
Dylan Sharp and joins the force, making it onto the famous living ship,
Leviathan, quite by accident, just as England is being sucked into the
war.

Told from these two interwoven standpoints, Leviathan is full of contrast. 

Deryn and Alek couldnt come from more different backgrounds or be more
different people, and they are played off of each other nicely.  What
was great (and a brilliant choice on Westerfelds part) was that there
is a sense of urgency and danger in both storylines, so one never felt
more crucial than the other.  Alek is on the run for his life, and is
beginning to question everything hes ever known, which could have
easily tipped the balance of the story in his favor.  But at the same
time, Deryn is living among strangers disguised as a boy, always trying
to prove herself, and always leary, lest someone find out.    There was
great tension of different kinds in each storyline, and it was
fascinating to watch them begin to come together.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book (even more than the
engaging characters of Alek and Deryn) was the technology, as it
were. On one side are the Clankers, Westerfelds vision of the
Germanic/Austro-Hungarian powers.  Their world is one of monstrous
machine juggernauts of steampunky goodness.  Pitted against them are
the Western powers of England, France, etc., whose world is made of
fabricated beasts.  In this version of history, Darwin not only
discovered the idea of genetics, but of DNA, and used it to start the
science of gene-splicing and created creatures.  The Leviathan itself
is a whale/beast/machine hybrid, a massive living dirigible. 

I must say, I was all for the steampunk nature of this book; it was one
of the things that attracted me so strongly to it.  But as I read, I
found Englands fabricated beasts and the idea of this societal genetic
freeforall even more fascinating than the Clankers machines.  When the
narrative shifted to Alek storylines, I found myself anxious to get
back to Deryn.  Not only do I love disguised storylines (like Tamora
Pierces Song of the Lioness series), but Deryns world was captivating
and rich. 

Even in all of the fantastic elements, there was a layer of truth. 
Nothing was clean-cut and simple.  Even in England, there were people
who found the idea of fabricated beasts immoral, frightening and
repugnant.  This rang true to me, and illustrated one of the things I
love so much about Scott Westerfeld: even in the midst of his
far-fetched, extreme worlds, there is always a solid foundation of
reality and truth to ground them.  Occasionally, shifting between the
two worlds could be jarring, but I think that was part of the point,
and added to the story.  Either way, both were so fully realized and
fascinating that I didnt want the book to end (and now have to wait
like a madwoman for the next installment).

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