Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

First, there is Deryn, a girl who disguises herself as a boy so she can be part of the British air corp. Second is Alek, who must escape his country after his parents are murdered. Deryn finds herself assigned to the large airship called Leviathan. Alek and his keepers are being hunted and must follow the instructions left by his father, the Duke and head of an empire. Deryn is a Darwinist and travels in a ship that is made up of many living creatures formed by men. Alek is a Clanker and travels in a mechanical war machine that walks on two legs. Although trained, neither is prepared for what faces them as they are swept into this re-imagined version of World War I.

I wanted to read this because I was hoping it was similar to Jules Verne. Verne often imagined futuristic machines that were used in contemporary times (like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). The difference between this book and Verne's stories is that Westerfeld takes futuristic ideas (even for now) and puts them in the past. This blending of past and future is referred to as steampunk.

The book started slow, but had lots of action and interesting ideas. The second book is already out, so there is no waiting to find out what happens next.

Click here to find more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.

1 comment:

  1. I listened to this in my car and at first all of the different accents were hard to process (especially while paying attention to driving) but then it just became part of their characters. At times I thought the action moved kind of slow but I liked the whole idea of machine-like animals and animal-like machines. Every chapter switches between Alek's POV and Deryn's POV so you get to know both main characters pretty well.

    Today I found the sequel, Behemoth, in book form and was surprised to find all of the random illustrations. I kind of wish I had know about them before because even though Westerfeld gives a lot of description, Thompson does a much better job than I do at imagining these huge creatures and machines (so ornate!). Now of course I get to see the drawings and I can still hear the same voices in my head so it's like the best of both worlds.

    Also my new favorite word is "squick."