Written by: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated by: Keith Thompson
Genre: YA/Steampunk/Alternate History
Pages: 440 (Hardcover)
The premise: ganked from author's website: 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.
Worth the Cash: But I'll give you one warning: this book is very clearly the start of SOMETHING. I'm not sure if it's a trilogy or a series or what, but book two, Behemoth, will be released this October, so know that when you start reading, you're going to end on something of a cliffhanger. I'm fine with it, because I feel like while this book is a bit of a set-up, there's enough story here to leave me satisfied with my purchase. Alek and Deryn don't cross paths for most of the book, but each of their sections are enjoyable in their own right (though I preferred Deryn's), and it's knowing that the paths WILL cross (that's not a spoiler, that's reader logic) that makes it fun, because you wonder how it's going to happen. I definitely preferred the Darwinist elements to the Clanker elements, because it was so inventive and imaginative, but I feel as a whole world, Westerfeld's come up with something pretty cool. I will warn any reader coming to this book looking for romance needs to back up. Sure, you have a boy protagonist and a girl protagonist, but that girl spends pretty much all of her time in the book being a boy, and expecting some grand revelation is silly, because 1) it'd happen too fast if it happened at all and 2) romance is definitely not the point of this. Sure, there's seeds. Itty-bitty seeds, but seeds no less. Perhaps they'll grow in later books, but for this one? Read it for the fun and adventure and the wonder. Oh, and the illustrations, which are quite lovely, and the book also sports one of the most beautiful maps I've ever seen, so read it for that too. :) I'll definitely be picking up the next in the series.
Review style: I want to discuss the particulars of alternate histories and how they intersect with steampunk (this is no expert discussion, mind you), the real target audience for this book in terms of style, and Westerfeld's use of strong female characters. I also want to yammer a bit about how knowing your history can enhance your reading, but why it's not necessary. Spoilers? Nothing you shouldn't already know in terms of historical events, and since it happens at the BEGINNING of the book, it's not what I'd consider a spoiler anyway. :)
At any rate, the full review is in my LJ if you're interested. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN
DON'T MISS OUT: Here's your chance to win a signed copy of Karin Lowachee's arctic fantasy, THE GASLIGHT DOGS. To enter, click here. Deadline to enter: 5/12
Also, you can win a signed copy of Robin McKinley's vampire novel, SUNSHINE, and the best part of this giveaway is that it's open worldwide. Interested? Click here.
Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!
May: Natural History by Justina Robson
June: Sunshine by Robin McKinley