Monday, 23 November 2009

Book Review - Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Illustrated by Keith Thompson

What it's about:
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. (from Goodreads)

What I thought: I adored the world Scott Westerfeld creates in Leviathan, not since Philip Pullman took me into Lyra's Oxford, have I wanted to visit somewhere, so much. I want to fly in a Huxley and ride in a storm walker and see all the beasties that live on/ make upthe Leviathan.

Leviathan is such a fun and engrossing read. It has all the right ingredients for a great adventure story; an heir, to an empire, on the run, a girl posing as a boy solider, a mysterious quest to far off lands, a host of scheming characters and it's all set in the middle of an alternative WW1.

The re-writing of history is so clever and inventive. It's recognizable from the history books, only it's completely different too. The Germans have very impressive machines, like this

and the British have engineered animals who can work and fight alone side them. In the world of the Leviathan, Darwin not only discovered evolution, he discovered DNA and used it to evolve new animals, like the Leviathan.

The Leviathan

As well as a brilliant story, Leviathan has the most wonderful art work (see above). Seriously ALL books should have pictures. I wanted to buy another copy so I could cut the pictures out and frame them. It would kill me to cut up a book through and luckily I don't have to because Keith Thompson's art can be bought here. Wouldn't that make a great Christmas present for someone (hint, hint)

I just loved this book. I can't wait for the second in the series. Where we get to travel to the Ottoman empire, hopefully find out what's in those eggs, and see if Alek realizes Deryn's a girl!

Oh and incase you were wondering if I lived in this world I'd so be a Darwinist!

Scott Westerfeld can be found blogging here


  1. Sounds like a fabulous read. It's now in my TBR pile :) Sounds like a good one for my classroom!

  2. Wow, high praise! I'll definitely have to check this one out soon.

  3. Jemi - It really is and yes i"m sure the kids would love it. It's a very fast read so I'm, sure it would hold even reluctant readers attention.

    S. Krishna - It's very good. So inventive, I'm kind of in awe :)

  4. I'm sold. I am soo going to buy this book. It looks brilliant. Great review by the way. :)


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