Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Illustrator: Keith Thompson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 448
Source: Personal Copy

Leviathan is a novel of alternate history. Westerfeld reinvents the war to end all wars creating a world of mechanical weaponry vs genetically engineered living animals. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Princess Sophie have been assassinated and their son Alex, is forced to run away in a giant, two legged mechanical contraption during the middle of the night. Alex's father never listened when he was told he could not marry for love. An heir to an empire must marry for the good of the country. When Franz Ferdinand married Sophie he was forced to compromise, and accept the fact that any children would never be considered a legitimate heir. Alex grew up in a household, knowing nothing of his fathers would ever be his. His relatives wished he were never born. On the brink of war, Alex must fight for his life. The Austro-Hungarian empire wants to end the blood line to the throne. Alex, although not an heir is a threat. His tutors have become his guardians. Giving up their families, they have vowed to help Alex and abide by Franz Ferdinand wishes. 

Along his journey Alex meets Deryn, a young girl posing as a male soldier in the British air service. All her life Deryn wanted to fly. Her father would take her up in an air ballon, she had excellent air sense. After her father dies, Deryn feels forced to be a proper lady. She always loved to fly, her only problem was girls were not allowed into the air service. With the help of her brother, Deryn disguises herself and is accepted into the service. Their worlds collide and an alliance is formed despite being on the opposite sides. 

The characters were really great, I really enjoyed this novel. It was my first steampunk novel and I'm very excited to read the next one in the series. Westerfeld created a great original novel. I highly recommend it. The illustrations are amazing, it really helped create the world for me. Keith Thompson did an outstanding job!


  1. I've never tried steampunk, but my husband read this book and really enjoyed it, so I have it hear and hope to give it a go one day.

  2. I've heard of this before but didn't know about the historical thing. This actually sounds interesting. Thanks for the review!

  3. Steampunk sounds like this one blew you away for its originality. See what trouble you get me into... now I may have to consider getting this one next ;)

  4. I did enjoy this book but I had higher expectations for it, somehow. It took me awhile to get into the story but once it got rolling, I enjoyed it more. Here is my review:

  5. I read this series after reading The Parasol Protectorate series, and, although I liked it, I think that having read the Carriger books right before it kind of had my expectations up quite a bit higher. I DO have the new book for review, though, and since there's been a break between the Steampunkery-type books for me, I think that I will like it even better!