March 10, 2010

Review of "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld


by Scott Westerfeld


Pub. Date: October 6, 2009

Pages: 448

Summary: It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a 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.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

I absolutely LOVED this book! It had action, suspense, beautiful illustrations, a fantastic plot, and wonderful characters. Scott Westerfeld created a fantastical world based off the real events of WWI by adding futuristic machines and genetically engineered animals into the conflict. Even though the book isn't completely historically accurate, it does cover some of the political issues going on during and prior to the war. I loved that Westerfeld added an afterword that goes over what is fact and what he fictionalized. Westerfeld made this book appealing to both girls and boys through the fast paced story that followed two main characters of the opposite sex.

As mentioned earlier, Westerfeld has added beautiful illustrations that help the reader to better understand some of the scenes that Westerfeld is trying to portray. I feel like the illustrations really brought the characters and machines to life. The world created is so intricate that it helped having the visuals so I wasn't bogged down by descriptions. I was a bit worried that it might slow down the pace of the book, but I didn't find it to be a problem. It was actually really cool to have a visual of some of the action scenes.

Between "Leviathan" and "Incarceron" I am hooked on steampunk and cannot wait to read more of the sub-genre. If you want to learn more about "Leviathan" just check out Scott Westerfeld's blog. The first chapter and the afterword are available if you are interested, but the afterword does have some spoilers. You can check out the blog here. I highly recommend that people who are fans of fantasy or sci-fi check out this book.


  1. I love the cover to this one and it sounds really interesting. Maybe I'll give this book a try. Great review!

  2. It sounds fascinating. I'll be on the lookout for it.

  3. I just picked up the audiobook of this yesterday. It sounds really fun, so I hope the audiobook is done well.