Read Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld Online


In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts....

Title : Leviathan
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781847385192
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 434 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Leviathan Reviews

  • Tatiana
    2019-02-01 01:27

    Like many of my friends, I've been looking forward to getting my hands on "Leviathan" for a while. It is so sad that after such a long wait I can't give this book more than 2 stars. And if I am being honest, I added second star for fabulous cover art and excellent illustrations (1 or 2 per chapter!). My low rating doesn't mean however that I would recommend NOT to read this book. I simply didn't care for it personally, for several reasons.First, this book seems to be mistakenly classified as young adult fiction. To me it read more like a children's book, middle school maximum. For a book about 15-16 year olds, Daryn and Alek are written awfully young. By the way their thought process, their behavior and motivations are portrayed, you'd think they are 11-12 years old, they are even drawn by the illustrator as pre-teens. I can enjoy some books written for this age group, such as first 2 Harry Potter books or "His Dark Materials," but the world of "Leviathan" just didn't hold my attention.Secondly, the book is extremely heavy on descriptions of various machinery and fabricated animals and battles between them. I know, this is the core of the book - a war between Clankers and Darwinists - but I hoped this concept would be presented in a more interesting manner. Just reading about how the zeppelins are constructed or how to operate an airship made out of a combination of creatures bored me to death. And lastly, for a book that is supposed to offer an "alternative history," the "alternativeness" is very thin and doesn't go beyond war machinery. The rest is pretty much taken from real history - we are not offered anything new in terms of government structure, social order, belief system, etc. It is possible however that Westerfeld will explore these avenues in later books in the series.I wouldn't discourage anyone from giving this book a shot. But if you are like me and prefer books for older teens, have no interest in mechanics and war battles, like to have a little bit of teen romance in your stories, you can safely skip this book.

  • Rick Riordan
    2019-02-04 06:35

    I really enjoyed Westerfeld’s Uglies, so I was excited to read this new book, set in an alternate reality. It’s the dawn of World War I, and war is about to erupt between two great powers – the Clankers (Germany & Austro-Hungary) and the Darwinists (England, France, Russia). The Clankers are technologists with walking tanks (a la Star Wars), zeppelins and airplanes, while the Darwinists have discovered ways to manipulate DNA and create biological hybrids like floating whale ships, lizards that relay messages in English, jellyfish hot air balloons, and elephantine beasts of burden. Westerfeld’s world is beautifully realized and totally convincing. Lots of action, and two great main characters who have dangerous secrets. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking, ‘This needs to be an online role-playing game.’ The possibilities are endless. I’ll be looking forward to the next book in this series. Check it out!

  • mark monday
    2019-02-16 05:46

    this is a zippy, high-spirited breeze of a novel, aimed at the lucrative TROPE(1) audience - and with clear appeal for even younger folks. as far as characterization and narrative go, there is not much here that will suprise or challenge the reader...but the novel does have charm, lots of it. don't expect to get your mind blown, but it is certainly a pleasant way to spend a few hours. and there are many enjoyable elements in the now-almost-played-out use of TROPE(2): big clanky walking-machines, living dirigibles and various flying machines or machine-beasts, the setting itself, and the enjoyable TROPE(3) of europe during the first world war - now rife with imaginative historical tweaks and simmering distrust between the machine-lovin' Clankers and the evolutionary mix-masters, the Darwinists.the TROPE(4) is rather standard - a plucky, mouthy, resilient young TROPE(5) who TROPE(6) to have the adventures of a boy. nonetheless, despite the familiarity of the gender-bending, she is thoroughly enjoyable. the TROPE(7) is also rather standard - a prickly and often high-handed little TROPE(8), but also a TROPE(9) one too. both TROPE(10) are TROPE(11) on several occasions. their TROPE(12) is nicely played out through TROPE(13) and the inevitable TROPE(14) wait to rear their predictable little heads until very near the end, as the young miss starts feeling some sparks during a fervent bit of grateful hugging. it is actually adorable, and all the better for its lack during most of the novel. and there are also two adult characters who are fun (but, again, rather standard) - an eccentric zookeeper/scientist/envoy/ TROPE(15) and her probable TROPE(16), a sardonic and loyal austrian 'wildcount'.the narrative is propulsive yet episodic. there is no standard TROPE(17) for the hero or heroine, although i suppose Alek's TROPE(18) to the austrian crown may eventually qualify...but so far, there is really nothing for him to quest after, as he spends most of his time hiding and running. for the time-being, the reader is immersed in action that comes breathless and willy-nilly, with little pause for reflection or rumination. i would have appreciated some more quiet times where the reader gets to live and breathe the characters' lives and the world's strangeness, but clearly the novel is geared more towards younger, shorter attention spans.i love the steampunk subgenre. on that level, the novel succeeds. i may just be a sucker for reading about TROPE(19), about TROPE(20) (although obviously this novel is not set during the victorian era), about TROPE(21), about TROPE(22) in general.the novel includes a bunch of pleasing black-and-white illustrations. they are wonderful. almost TROPE(23)-ific! minus the TROPE(24), of course._______________________________KEY1. Young Adult2. steampunk3. alterna-history4. heroine5. tomboy6. disguises herself as a boy 7. hero8. prince9. sad and rather tragic10. almost over-their-heads heroes11. brave and quick-thinking and save the day 12. gradual coming-together13. alternating pov chapters14. romantic clichés15. liberated lady16. surprise love interest17. Quest18. legacy as the heir 19. futuristic yet strangely archaic technology20. quasi-victorian explorations of sexual repression/gender imbalance21. nifty new ways that evolution can be tweaked22. anachronism23. Edward Gorey24. morbid child-killing

  • Carol.
    2019-02-10 05:27

    Alternate title: An Adventure in Which an Aristocratic Young Man Discovers How to Pilot an All-Terrain Walker and that he is Now an Orphan, and a Young Woman Disguises Herself as a Young Man and Joins the Navy to Pilot Flying Octopi and Whales.I rarely read Young Adult, so it is a mark of Westerfeld’s credit that I didn’t abandon ship immediately. I picked it up as a monthly read, mistakenly assuming the group disqualified the genre from nominations. I know what you are thinking–why didn’t I quit? Well, Leviathan has been making reading lists for some time with solid ratings from my friends. And every now and then I do read some fantastic young adult. It isn’t the book’s fault, exactly–it’s mine.“It felt odd fencing in farmer’s clothes, without servants standing ready to bring water and towels. Mice scrambled underfoot, and the giant Stormwalker watched over them like some iron god of war. Every few minutes Count Volger called a halt and stared up at the machine, as if hoping to find in its stoic silence the patience to endure Alek’s clumsy technique.”It begins with Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary headed to bed, musing on the battle he was enacting with his little tin soldiers. Before long, he’s awakened by his father’s trusted adviser on what he thinks is a nighttime training mission–piloting a land-walker in the dark. Try as I might, I could not stop visualizing the Star Wars edition, circa 1983:Prince Alek is young, and makes all sorts of silly mistakes: thinking the advisers might be out to kidnap him, not believing his parents were killed and accidentally betraying his noble upbringing. It’s hard to be in disguise as a peasant! Apparently his situation is the byproduct of an attempt to incite a war. Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp is also discovering it is hard to live in disguise–in her case, as a boy. You have to swagger and hit people a lot, but she’s learning fast as she goes through training in the British Air Service. During her test flight, her balloon/octopus accidentally gets away and results in her being picked up by a mammoth–excuse me, whale–of a flying warship. She gets a place in the crew and manages to become part of an important diplomatic mission. Of course, the two worlds will collide. Oh, did I mention they are also the Romeo and Juliet of the European world, representing opposite sides in the conflict, who in turn represent opposite applications of technology?“According to her aerology manual, the big hydrogen breathers were modeled on the tiny South American islands where Darwin had made his famous discoveries. The Leviathan wasn’t one beastie, but a vast web of life in ever shifting balance.”The most engaging aspect of the tale was the cultural construct of how scientific thought was applied. In the English faction, science dove right into “Darwinism,” gene-splicing and biotech. Inventions are based upon biological creations operating in mechanical ways. Thus, the flying octopus balloons and the whale-based airships powered by renewable biomass. It’s extremely interesting and creative and was, without doubt, one of the reasons I kept reading.Plotting felt solid. Relatively predictable, of course, given our YA heroes, but with a twist or turn along the way as to the structure of the conflict. I read the hardcover, which not only has a lovely jacket but a creative European-west Asian map on the faceplate. The illustrations by Keith Thompson are shown in perfect detail. I thought they added a great deal to the story, occasionally providing some imagery to hook the story on, and was glad I was reading paper. It wouldn’t have worked as well on my e-reader.Writing style was excellent, and again, sign of Westerfeld’s skill, as far as I’m concerned. Deryn does speak in a heavy slang at times, to the point that Alek complains she is almost incomprehensible.Confession time: not only to I not enjoy Young Adult as a genre, I really don’t enjoy modern human history. Part of it is the arbitrariness of the detail for me: Leader X of Y ate apples and bananas in 1935 and might have set off a world war when he accidentally tipped the farmer who lost his shirt in the milk shortage a gold coin. I just can’t remember that kind of arbitrary minutia; I’m much better with cardiovascular output, baroreceptors and red blood cells porting around oxygen to the outer perimeters. Westerfeld’s set up has to do with Leader Somebody So-and-So not being something or another in 19-Something-Something, only it went the Other Way in real life. I didn’t care when I tried to learn it in 1985, and I really don’t care now. But kudos to you, Westerfeld for making a pivotal historical event your story lynchpin. The other reason it is was never going to work for me: fighting. Events leading up to war. Young people discovering adult politics. Mounted scouts. Flying stuff shooting at other flying stuff. Land stuff shooting at flying stuff. Skirmishes. You know–tin soldiers.Upshot? Hugely readable, well-written and illustrated book that almost completely misses my reading interests and manages to be entertaining anyways. If any of that appeals to you, I highly recommend it.

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-02-17 04:30

    The Archduke of Austria-Hungary and his wife are assassinated and their son, Alek, flees into the night with trusted advisors. Deryn Sharp disguises herself as a boy to gain a post on a Darwinist airship. With a Great War brewing, how will their paths intersect?I had Leviathan on my kindle for so long I'd largely forgotten when I purchased it. Sometimes, you just want to read about giant steam-powered robots in the dawn of World War I.Leviathan is a steampunk adventure tale set in the opening months of World War I in an alternate world where war is brewing between the Darwinists and the Clankers. Darwinists use genetically engineered war machines while Clankers use big honking human piloted robots. Sounds pretty good, right?In a Young Adult sort of way, it's a fun tale. Will her comrades find out Deryn is a woman? Will the Germans find where Alek is hiding? Will we see brutal robot on robot action?The worldbuilding in Leviathan was my favorite part. Who doesn't love giant robots and huge living airships? Setting it during World War I was a nice change of pace that avoided some of the usual steampunk tropes. I also liked that Alek and Deryn didn't instantly fall in love and neither of them was a Chosen One type of character.The writing didn't wow me, however. It was pretty average and felt a little repetitive at times. My main gripe, while we're on the subject, is that not a lot actually happened. I'm aware that it was the first book in a trilogy but it was pretty unsatisfying on its own. It set up a lot of stuff for future installments but had very little meat to it on its own.Three out of five stars. I'm still undecided whether or not I want to spend money on the other two, however.

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-02-21 01:30

    "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles DarwinThe world of Leviathan set in 1914 is divided into Darwinists and Clankers. The Darwinists have evolved genetics to make animals more useful to humans. The Clankers have built their society on machinery technology. I love maps and Scott Westerfeld provided a great map to show how his imagined world has been divided up between the two camps of thought.Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand awakes one night to find that his world has been turned upside. He had an uncertain future to begin with being the son of the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne; and yet, because his mother was of common blood the marriage was deemed a left-handed marriage which does not allow Alek to inherit his father's title. Franz FerdinandHis father and mother survive the initial assassination attempt that in our reality sparked World War One. In Westerfeld's world they survive only to be poisoned later that night at a dinner party. Alek is whisked away by men loyal to his father in a Stormwalker, a two legged war machine. Despite the fact that he has no legitimate claim to the throne the Germans are intent on neutralizing him. Emperor Franz Joseph is old and the Germans fear he will recognize Alek as his heir. They would prefer someone more likely to ally with their war aims. In the book A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889Frederick Morton speculates that Rudolph's suicide (Franz Joseph's son) was actually an assassination by Germany fearing his anti-Germanic rhetoric. It makes sense, but suicide was in fashion in Vienna in the 1880s and there is very little evidence to support the theory, but that said given what is at stake I wouldn't be surprised that Germany had a hand in eliminating Rudolph. Germany has always played too large a role in Austrian politics. In Westerfeld's world instead of a young Bosnian being behind the assassination of Ferdinand the Germans are the originators of the coming conflict. Alek finds himself in a desperate race to reach the Swiss border before the German's can capture him. Our other hero is Deryn Sharp. She has just joined the British air service. Because she is a girl, and girls are not allowed to join the military, she has disguised herself as a boy named Dylan. She is assigned to the Leviathan a living whale flying ship. Despite being in constant peril of discovery she shows bravery and intuitive cunning that makes her a valuable midshipman. Of course Deryn and Alek are on a collision course and their first meeting is less than ideal. Despite the fireworks and the misunderstandings they are quickly becoming friends. Another real character masquerading in Westerfeld's world is Nora DARWIN Barlow who has become critical to the upcoming war effort as England needs more advances in genetics to have a chance against the Clanker armies of Germany. She is the granddaughter of Charles Darwin. Nora Darwin BarlowMiss Barlow's constant companion is a Tasmanian Tiger, an animal that creates nervous moments for those around her. Unfortunately in our reality the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936, a species that was a casualty of man versus nature. I liked Miss Barlow and hope she continues to be a key part of the plot in the subsequent books. The book is littered with amazing line drawings that really adds to the experience of the book. I wish more adult books had illustrations. There are a plethora of amazing, starving artists in this country that could use the work. We are a visual culture and I don't believe it takes away any literary value to a book to be enhanced with an artist's conception of the writer's creation. I will be reading book two Behemoth . Westerfeld left me hanging in the skies over Europe with our heroes on a secret mission to the Ottoman Empire, and the German's trying everything in their arsenal to bring them back to Earth.

  • Jo
    2019-02-19 08:35

    "A missing piece can be very bad for the puzzle, whether in the natural world, or politics, or here in the belly of an airship." Initial Final Page Thoughts.That’s what I want to know, Alek. That’s what I want to know. High Points.Deryn. Alek. This world… wooow, why doesn’t it exist yet?! Huxleys. Darwinists. Clankers. Flying wales. Cow farts. Trinkets&Diddies. Messenger lizards. Science. Nature. Snowshoes. Tazza. Dr Barlow. Frostbitten bums. Odd kind of tingling. The prospect of sequels…Low Points.I think I’ll appreciate this book all the more when I look back on it after reading the others… which may or may not be zooming down the motorway to my house as I type.This isn’t a gripe directed solely at Mr Westerfeld… more like everyone who has ever written a story where a girl dresses up as a boy and no one notices.Yes, that’s right. It’s also directed at YOU director of Shakespeare in Love and that film where Channing Tatum takes his top off a lot and there’s football… sorry, soccer, involved! She’s the Man. Basically this rant is aimed at Shakespeare. *shakes first*Sure, I could get over it if the girl in question was like… a baby. People would notice a sixteen year old girl (who looks extremely pretty in the illustrations, I need to add!) was gallivanting around a whale!Even if her diddies are on the small side. The whole idea of people changing one thing about themselves and all of the sudden are unrecognisable is a serious pet peeve of mine (I go off on one provide an extremely sound and mature argument in my Shadows on the Moon review.)But you know what?! I don’t care because Deryn is brilliant and if anyone could fool a ship full of silly boys she could!Hero.Oh Alek, I think you’re going to end up getting overshadowed in this review which is completely unfair because you are brilliant too.But… well… Derynissocool……*whines*Sorry, Alek. I’m back with you, promise. You have all this ridiculous stuff happening around you and you still have the time to be a Grade A sweetheart? I applaud you because if I was an Austro-Hungarian prince I would be whinging like nobody’s business.I loved how he was innocent and naïve and a bit of wimp but he was determined to learn and break-free of people’s perceptions of him and his ancestors and all that shebang.I’m really excited to see where Alek’s learning curve takes him. Also, the banter between him and Deryn was hilarious.“Listen, I’m not really supposed to be this far from home. I just happened to be out hiking when I saw your ship come down.”“Out hiking?” Deryn said. “In all this barking snow? At night?”“Yes. I often hike on the glacier at night.”“With medicine?” And I can’t wait to see what happens when what I think will happen happens!Hero. Heroine. Hero? Jo’s Best Friend.YES YES YES.I’ve only read one book but already Deryn is one of my favourite female heroines.She can fashion a zipwire while dangling under a squid-thing! I’m going to start adding that to my necessary friend requirements. And this is the point where I would get slightly nervous because I always fall in love with fantastic heroines in the first book of a series and then get my heart dashed as it goes on (Looking at you, Katniss!)… but I have no doubt that Deryn and I are for keeps.*fingers crossed*And OH, I caught you with your tingling feelings after a certain prince hugged you. Don’t think I didn’t see that!Just because you’re a soldier doesn’t mean you can’t twist your skirts every now and again… or um, you know… your uniformed pants. Again, I can’t wait to see what happens when what I think will happen happens !Illustrations.When the wonderful Catie recommended this book to me to be part of my Illustrated Book Week I was sceptical because it didn’t look like the kind of book that should be illustrated.I mean it wasn’t about magic or fairy tales or monsters.It was about alternative war and machines and.... boy stuff.But, boy am I glad it was illustrated?!I think they are particularly important because they are so detailed and perfectly capture Westfeld’s fantastical world. They almost looked like they had been produced with the smog and grime and grease from one of the Clanker's machines. What I loved was that even though they were highly detailed and intricate, they also managed to maintain their cartoon-ness (Is there a word for that?). I loved the pictures with the characters on them the most because Mr Thompson got their facial expressions perfectly.Also, the fact that Deryn is taller than Alek was brilliant!Theme Tune.I couldn’t find any song that really went with giant whale airships and clanking.So I’m* going to choose a song for my girl, Deryn. Just a Girl by No Doubt.*Well, I say I’m- fellow music lover Catie chose this one because I was too busy buying the next two books. Sadness Scale. 3/10. Almost zilch but I think Alek’s story (if you know your…um, alternate history you’ll know what I mean) was really sad.Poor little pup.And also, while I’m thinking about it, Deryn’s story is sad as well. But she doesn’t tend to dwell…I hope we’ll get to find out more about these and their feelings as the series goes on. Recommended For.People who are looking for a fast-paced, high-action book with great characters and fantastic potential for the rest of the books. People who live in places where they can’t get mobile reception but have an abundance of lizards who seem to listen to your conversations! People who think that the smell of fish and cow farts always lead to adventure. People who would look great in a bowler hat. People who actually use the words “boffin” and “ninny” in everyday conversations (I actually do, you know, when I’m not swearing like a lorry driver.) People who always take medicine when they go on their glacial hikes. Boys who couldn’t recognise a girl if she cut her hair short and wore pants. People who are suspicious of eggs. People who can’t wait to see what happens when what they think will happen happens.You can read this review and other exciting things on my blog here.

  • Lyndz
    2019-02-20 06:40

    After reading Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices, I got a taste for steampunk that I have not been able to satiate until now. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Leviathan is targeted for early YA, in the same vein as Percy Jackson and the early Harry Potters. My advice to you is if you are thinking about reading any of the Rick Riordan/Percy Jackson books; put that thought out of your mind right now, and pick up Leviathan instead. Trust me on this one, you will thank me for it. Leviathan is alternate history novel that takes place in the time immediately preceding WWI. Just after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were murdered in Sarajevo. Leviathan follows the story of their (fictional) son and heir to the throne, Alek, as he attempts to escape the armies wanting to kill him. Austria, like Germany, is a “Clanker” nation which means they rely on machines for weapons and transportation. We have dual protagonists in this book and different chapters are told from the different protagonist’s viewpoints. Our 2nd main character is Deryn. Deryn is a young female commoner disguised as a male in the British Air Force. The British are what are referred to as ”Darwinists", meaning that they rely on genetically altered animals for weapons and transportation. Leviathan is the name of the genetically engineered hydrogen-based whale aircraft on which Deryn is stationed. The heart of the story is Clankers vs. the Darwinists.As Scott Westerfeld points out, the beauty of steampunk is that it combines past with future. There is a lot of historical fact in this book which keeps it interesting, but with a futuristic flair.For me, Deryn made this book, she was charming and funny. This is a quote from Deryn, when thinking about the chemical makeup of water: “It'd always seemed a bit suspect to her, that two gases mixed up made a liquid…” Deryn is constantly spouting out funny phrases like ”wee beasties” and cursing ”jumping spiders”. Alek was equally likeable, but for me not as relatable (since he is male). I had to award Leviathan with one extra half point because there is a TAZMANIAN TIGER named Taza. You can’t go wrong with a Tasmanian tiger, I mean, come on, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Dear Mr. Westerfeld, I hereby forgive you for writing The Uglies Trilogy. ‘Oh, no,’ you may say, ‘there is no forgiveness needed’. But yes, I insist, it is needed. Trust me, it really is.My one word to describe Leviathan: Juicy-steampunky-awesomeness – that is all one word, I swear!4 & 1/2 STARS!

  • David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
    2019-01-22 02:27

    For any YA-fans looking for a new fun and imaginative adventure to fill the Harry-Potter-sized void in your lives, I give you Leviathan!Beware the Clanker Revolution!It's the year 1914, and Austrian prince Alek has just learned that his parents have been murdered. Instead of being allowed time to grieve, he is forced to flee his country with only a handful of men loyal to him. As his birthright represents a direct threat to the Clanker army's quest for power, the fifteen-year-old Alek has been targeted for assassination. On the run, the young prince tries valiantly to find a way to prevent a war by ending the conflict. Behold the Darwinist Evolution!In contrast, Deryn Sharp doesn't try to avoid conflict, she thrives on it! So much so that the 15-year-old girl masquerades as a boy just so she can join the British Air Service. Now she finds herself swept away to a new home, filled with extraordinary genetically-altered creatures. As the young girl fights alongside the Darwinists in their battle against the Clankers, she proves many times over that the most powerful weapon at her disposal is her mind."Leviathan" was the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time! One thing that struck me was the sheer creativity Scott Westerfeld displayed in establishing this alternate-reality version of World War I. The Clanker army (which includes Germany, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire) possesses a wide variety of steam-powered monstrosities that march into war. What was truly impressive was Westerfeld's ability to not only describe the various machines' appearances, but to even provide such fluid descriptions as to how they operate. The Darwinists (comprised of Britain, France, and Russia) feature even more imaginative weapons, genetically-manufactured "beasties" that are crossbreeds of various animals and scientifically engineered to possess useful abilities (my favorite being the talking Message Lizards). Such a perfect blend of the natural and the mechanical makes Westerfeld's world a truly rich and elaborate setting.Of course, a book that takes place in an exciting world still suffers if the characters aren't interesting, but fortunately Westerfeld gives us a cast that manages to be even more compelling than the wonders surrounding them. Alek is altruistic, yet somewhat spoiled. He is stoic in the loss of his parents, but his emotions still get the better of him at times. Deryn is also an extremely likable character. She is spirited and strong, but often also reveals a much softer side (especially her affection towards the beasties that most others only see as tools). Deryn's swashbuckling ways led me to almost cheer out loud on more than one occasion. Westerfeld pulls off an amazing trick, giving us two young leads who are wise beyond their years, yet also talk and act in such a way that they are perfectly believable as teenagers! While these two lead characters are captivating enough to carry the book on their own, fortunately they don't have to. Westerfeld also gives us an enjoyable supporting cast as well. Particularly engaging is Dr. Nora Barlow, a British scientist who possesses not only a bubbly disposition, but also a brilliant and observant mind that rivals even that of a certain well-known British detective. Another enthralling player in this drama is Count Volger, the loyalist who becomes Alek's father figure. Volger is gruff, but also noble, and his cunning and shrewdness make us very grateful that he is on Alek's side! Truthfully, the supporting characters in this book are more interesting than the stars of many other books!On the surface, the story is a fast-paced adventure, but there are many other themes that play out as well. The persecution the Darwinists suffer from those who label them "godless". A soldier's torment over whether to follow orders or do what they truly feel is right. The fallacy of gender and national stereotypes. Mature themes are woven into a young-adult adventure to add more layers of depth to the story.Ultimately, once I finished reading this book, I only had one complaint...I wish the book never had to end!

  • TK421
    2019-02-19 03:25

    Whew…where do I begin? First off, let me tell you this is my first steampunk experience, which will definitely not be my last. At work, I’ve had a few of my co-workers recommend this book to me, along with about fifteen other steampunk titles. I ignored them. Steampunk just wasn’t my bag. It seemed too…too…what’s the word?...ridiculous. Months passed. But every time I needed a new book to read and review for my job, I always found myself looking at LEVIATHAN. The cover art is pretty cool; but just not cool enough for me to read it…or so I thought. Then, last night, as we were closing shop, I dared myself to read this title. I’m not much into YA literature either, so my hopes were not great. I thought: If I can just read 50 pages, then I could tell them that this type of stuff isn’t for me.Well, my wife and kids went to bed early, so I opened this book. And man oh man, did I have a fun few hours. As the night grew older, I kept saying, “Just one more chapter.” I ended up reading half the book. The story revolves around an alternate history of what precipitated the events that triggered (no pun intended for those history buffs reading this review) WWI. In the real history, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed by an assassin’s bullet. In this version, the Duke and his wife are killed by poison after having survived two previous attempts. Their deaths leave their son, Aleck, now heir to the Austrian-Hungary Empire alone, save for two loyal officers that whisk him away in the dead of the night. This all happens within the first ten pages. I liked this. It kind of had an Ender’s Game feel to it. As the story progresses, we find out that the world basically split into two factions: the Clankers, and the Darwinists. The Clankers live and die by technology. Machines are their future. In fact, their machines seem to serve one purpose only: advancement of military might. Darwinists are a bit different. Yes, they use technology, but this technology is fused with the life forms of earth. These are called Beasties. A great example of these Beasties is the Leviathan itself. This monstrosity has the body of a whale, but is actually an amalgam of ecosystems working together. It looks and acts like a zeppelin, the difference being, it is alive. Needless to say, the world-building in this story is incredible. I could see and smell and hear all what was happening, both in the Clankers world and in the Darwinists’. I won’t spoil the story, but here are a few themes throughout: bravery, technology versus nature, overcoming odds, redemption, acceptance of loss, and loyalty. There are epic battles and escapes. Daring rescues. Science and speculation. Strange eggs. Descendants of Charles Darwin. Fusion of past and future concepts. A girl posing as a boy as to serve her country in war. (Possible romance in the next books?) And, my favorite, bats that eat pieces of metal so they can be used as missiles when attacking enemies. (You can probably guess as to how these projectiles are ejected from the bats!!) The two major criticisms I have about this novel are: sometimes the language seems needlessly juvenile. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is jarring to the story. The other is the illustrations. I found this book to be dark. Not in violence or topic necessarily, but it is about war and is filled with war scenes, the illustrations detract from the story, sometimes making it less urgent or compelling. Had these been drawn to show the darker elements of the story, they would have added greatly. Still, this was an awesome novel. I will proudly eat my own words and say steampunk is fun, good reading, and YA literature has a lot to offer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • Richard Derus
    2019-01-25 05:30

    Wow. Really, I love alternate histories, and I dote on steampunk, and I am learning just how fertile the YA vineyards are in both these realms. This book is a wonderful tale of an alternate WWI, fought between the Darwinist powers and the Clankers. That is, those whose fighting technology is genetically manipulated animal based, and those whose fighting technology is...well, technology.Darwin's theories of evolution became available to manipulate and modify animals at a much earlier stage of reality than our own, and of course the first thing that was created was fighting machines. Well, duh, we're talking about humans here, and what do we love better as a species than killing each other? The author, whose prejudices are clearly against the killing of others, never preaches, though his subtext is pretty overt to adult readers.The story's focus is on a teenaged Hapsburg prince, the son of Franz Ferdinand (the archduke, not the Scottish dance band), whose factuality I have no idea about...though it wouldn't surprise me if there was a large dollop of truth in he attempts to survive the loss of his parents, the bewildering early days of the war, and the inevitable confrontation of his prejudices with the realities of the Great Evil Other Side, the Darwinists. It's a very good piece of storytelling, no doubt about it; it's also a subtle and undidactic meditation on the sense of self as it's constructed during our adolescence, with all the pressures and trials magnified by both war and the identity that the young hero didn't choose.His opposite number, a Darwinist airshipman, is secretly a girl, and this fact would just get her bounced out of service...whereas the prince's withheld identity, though known to midshipman Dylan/Deryn Sharp, would get him imprisoned and used as a pawn in international politicking. Both identities are kept secret, thank goodness, or there wouldn't be a sequel.Which had darn straight better be forthcoming soon! I liked this book, and I recommend it to all lovers of identity fiction, steampunk aficionadoes, and the odd curious tourist into this twisty piece of literary territory. It's a great first steampunk book. Enjoy!

  • ScottHitchcock
    2019-01-30 01:25

    1.5*'s. This book read like a newsreel being delivered by a stiff network anchor. I never felt engaged by the story or the characters. Everything moves at a super slow pace an is overly simplistic. The book is a steampunk and historical fictional piece about the son of assassinated WW1 icon Franz Ferdinand. The story takes place in the events leading up to and then in the war. The fictitiously named son spends his time on the run in a dirigible learning secrets long kept from him. I will not be continuing the series.

  • Valerie
    2019-02-14 01:32

    The style came easily to me even if it is my first historical sci-fi book. I usually avoid sci-fi for the reason that they usually have long series. I read somewhere that there is a sequel to Leviathan but I forgot. I probably would've read the book anyway though because Deryn is a girl disguised as a boy and that in and of itself would hook me to almost any book. Absolutely loved the whole Darwinist v. Clanker bit. The fact that Westerfeld really made it fit so easily without making everything overly complicated was greatly appreciated. I haven't read a book with pictures in it in a long long time and I have to say that I actually thought it was great. Usually when I struggle with creating images I just keep rereading it, but the drawings really helped and I could tell the illustrator thought through his illustrations. The characters Deryn and Alek are well developed. At first I didn't like Alek because he seemed so immature for a 16 year old aristocrat but he grows throughout the book. Deryn’s point of view is what I was looking forward to and she is what I hoped she would be. She is tough and smart even without the education that Alek has. Alek’s immaturity lessens and his feelings of entitlement do too. As the book progressed I could like both characters equally. I also enjoyed the secondary characters: some are funny, some are just so darn loyal, and some are mysterious. But I couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling that these two characters seem younger than 15 and 16. The book was more juvenile than I thought it would be -though that alone probably would not have stopped me from giving it 5 stars. The truth is that I really have no other complaints, it just didn't grip me completely. But I'm definitely going to read the sequel. I just gotta know...

  • Connor
    2019-01-23 01:46

    I did in the end enjoy this novel, but I had a few reservations. I loved the illustrations. I wish they were all pushed a page later so they wouldn't spoil what was currently happening every time I turned the page, but that was alright. I think at times, I found it easy to put down, but once I committed, I was totally in. The characters were pretty realistic with their characterizations and were kept super consistent. I loved the afterward where he explained his ideas for this alternate history/futuristic story. I though it ended pretty abruptly, but I'm definitely pumped to read the rest of the series though! 3.5 Stars

  • Michael
    2019-02-10 08:34

    This combination fantasy and alternative history of World War 1 was fun and imaginative in many ways, but it came up short for me in its limited depth of characters and plotting and in my troubles suspending disbelief. Only some of such weakness seems attributable to this being children’s literature.The overall premise is that the Allied powers use genetically engineered animals in their military technology while the Central powers use machines—the "Darwinists" versus the "Clankers". The former have living blimps derived from whales and hydrogen producing jellyfish, while the latter have walking tank-like machines. The alternative history angle has it that the assassination of the Austrian archduke in Sarajevo was a plot by the Germans to start the war and that his fictional teenaged son Alek has to go on the run with some of his father’s men to keep out of their clutches. The plot brings him together with a 14-year old British girl, Deryn, who has joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman by pretending to be a boy. Her ship, the Leviathan, is on a secret mission to Constantinople known only to a colorful and mysterious woman scientist aboard the ship. Both Alek and Deryn show a heartwarming courage and ingenuity in the face of dangerous conflicts with the Kaiser’s military forces. Deryn in particular has fetching verve, great sense of humor, and cute use of slang. However, I didn’t quite get the same level of satisfaction from the emotional struggles and challenges to coming of age from the young heroes of Harry Potter, tales of Narnia, and Pullman’s Golden Compass series. I do give it some style points, consistent with the surface chic typical of the emerging steampunk genre; i.e. that special combination of projecting early advances of technology with a backward-looking nostalgic twist. The wonderful drawings by Keith Thompson are a definite plus in that regard. I balked quite a bit over the silliness of the two-legged walking tanks being so subject to falling over (at least the similar machines in Star Wars had four legs). And the core weakness of airships with lift provided by explosive hydrogen is the very reason Zeppelins failed as an effective military technology. I also got tired of the frequent references to the ominous stink of leaking hydrogen, when this gas is odorless (in contrast to the hydrogen sulfide of rotten eggs).Despite these caveats, the book still kept me glued to the read. I was headed to a 4-star rating when I was cheated by the abrupt ending. Even books in a series should have more closure than this one did. We never learn anything about what the mission to Constantinople was all about or even get a sense of the linkage of the Ottoman Empire had to do with the German and Austrio-Hungarian Empires. Is it a spoiler to tell potential readers that they must count on reading the whole series to get any real understanding of major plot elements?

  • Erin
    2019-02-10 06:28

    What a pleasant surprise this book was! I strongly dislike the Uglies series and had a sense that Leviathan would be a "boy book" (whatever that means), but it turns out it was highly enjoyable.PlotBasically, a heavily altered retelling of the initiation of World War I. It follows two protagonists: Alek, the orphaned son of the murdered Austrian archduke, and Deryn, a girl disguising herself as a boy in order to fly on a Darwinist airbeast. She will be flying against the Clankers, the sections of Europe that rely on machinery.Clankers v. Darwinists... who will win? I'm a Clanker through and through, so reading about the strange ships made out of several animals was just confusing to me. It seemed too implausible to bother wrapping my head around. On the other hand, the scenes where Alek-- on the run from German forces trying to kill him-- was operating the Stormwalker were so fascinating to me. I loved the heroic effect it gave him. Mr. Fancypants here can run in the dark!CharactersI have a lot of room in my heart for Alek and Deryn! Deryn especially was making a lot of progress in the best-character category during the first half (not that I didn't like Alek, it's just that Deryn seemed cooler). But then Alek came out of nowhere and now I think I probably like him the best. I was freaking out when his disguise was in jeopardy... poor little thing was just trying to give them medicine! And the part where he cried about his parents? Would you were real, Alek, so I could hug you! Sniff.And an honorable mention goes out to Volger. What a tool, but in the best way possible. Other Things on My HeartI regret reading this so quickly; I feel I did the book a disservice. The ending was very blurry and I was starting to feel less enthusiastic, but for some reason I decided to keep going. I liked the small, small, small hints of romantic feelings directed from Deryn to Alek. She's in control of herself for the most part, but allows those binoculars of hers to stay on Alek's face for a liiiiiitle longer than necessary. And even if, over the course of the series, their relationship never turns into a reciprocal romance (but I'm sure it will!), I truly feel like these two kids could make the greatest duo of bffs EVER. And, just for repetition's sake, I like Alek better than Deryn! Pretty much every review I've read has been givin' Deryn all the love, so I thought I'd chime in with some Alek support. :)Lastly: What is in those eggs, goshdangit? And why does Dr. Barlow have to be so sly? I was comically protective of Alek's secrets, so whenever she let on that she knew something, I was all "BACK OFF, WOMAN!" Ha.

  • Mike
    2019-02-16 06:26

    I felt that this series was best reviewed as one coherent narrative given the relatively short period of time the books cover, the continuous story that was told, and the similarities between them.The Leviathan series is a fun mix of steampunk, adventure, and historical/alternative history that, for the most part, delivered a satisfying and enjoyable reading experience (even if the end of the series does sink a bit too deeply into some annoying YA qualities). I was able to devour these books at a rapid clip and rarely felt the writing or story lagged significantly. If you are looking for a unique and adventurous take on both the steampunk genre and WWI historical fiction this could be the series for you if you can stand some YA elements mixed in.First off I really liked the setting. This series imagines a world very much on the brink of WWI, but instead of the world split between the Central Powers and the Allied Powers, it is instead split between the Clankers (the Central Powers that utilized technologically driven war machines) and the Darwinists (the Allied Powers that manipulate biology to create tools and war machines). I was happy to see WWI used as a backdrop for the story because it is a criminally underused setting (present Wonder Woman movie excluded). It has just as many fascinating aspects as WWII but is often overshadowed by the sequel.In any event Westerfeld did an excellent job blending his new scientific reality with the conditions of WWI Europe. He used actual events from history to inform his story's plot and had a deft enough understanding of the war to adjust its trajectory to match the changes he was making in his story. Even better, he took time at the end of each book to explain what parts of the story were real, what parts he adapted from historical events, and what parts he created. It showed a real respect he had for the war he was borrowing for his own story and educates the reader at the same time.The story itself follows, for the most part, a great British Leviathan (a biologically engineered creature that serves as sort of a floating battleship with all sorts of neat biological weapons) that the two main characters, Austrian Prince Alek and Deryn, a British girl who masquerades as a boy to join the military. Through circumstances not of their own control they are thrown together on this great beast as it carries out war critical missions for the Allies. As you can imagine a crown prince from a Clanker nation on a Darwinist war beast can raise some problems, but Westerfeld does a very good job with the story putting Alek in positions to help out and maintain a position on the Leviathan (though not without the occasional complication).I thought the characters of Alek and Deryn were well constructed. They had their own motivations and goals and Westerfeld let that lead the decisions they made. They are both quite young and find themselves in a completely new environment so there is naturally some growing pains for both of them as they have to learn what it means to literally have the lives of others in their hands. Both make stupid mistakes from time to time but mistakes that feel right in the context of their characters' motivations and histories. All in all I felt like both of these main characters were sympathetic and real enough for me to care about.The secondary characters, on the other hand, I thought got a bit of a short shrift. A few of them got some decent back story but they seemed more to be extensions of Alek or Deryn's character arc than living breathing characters of their own. We do run into some historical figures but they, for the most part, tended to be more window dressing than terribly crucial to the plot (Tesla being the exception). To a degree this didn't bother me much since this was very much an Alek and Deryn story, but a richer cast of secondary characters could have enriched the story further.Being a story that takes place during an immense war I thought Westerfeld do a very good job balancing military engagements with plot progression. The fights that did occur were both creative and well described (which they sort of have to be given it had giant floating monsters squaring off with coal powered fighting mechs). I was impressed with how thoroughly Westerfeld thought out the details of his world and the novel ways he saw the overall Clanker and Darwinist philosophies inform their military decisions. He also took time to explore and integrate the political situations into the story, showing that diplomacy could be just as important in the war as military prowess.I was disappointed in a few aspects of this story though.The story centers around the journeys and adventures of Alek and Deryn so the reader doesn't get much of any view of the fighting that is occurring in Europe. We never get to see full on Clanker and Darwinist forces tangle. The first World War was (in)famous for its trench warfare and I would have liked to see Westerfeld take on just what that would look like in his imagined world. The reader would get oblique references to the fighting, but always second hand and very general. I understand why Westerfeld told the story the way he did but I was disappointed as the narrow view of this nifty world we were given.I also thought the final book in the series was a bit weak. It got a bit too deep in some of the weaker parts of the YA genre (seriously guys, just sit down and talk it out, don't spend hundreds of pages wallowing in your own "woe is me" funk) and I felt the overall level of action in the third book paled in comparison to the first two. The fighting wasn't as interesting, the politics was not as engaging, and the characters could not carry the increased load of the story (hence the three stars for the third book).Overall I was very pleased with the series even if the third book fell a bit flat. Westerfeld's imaginative world building and understanding of WWI really made this series a compelling and enjoyable read.

  • Ivan
    2019-02-04 05:39

    I love the setting but characters and story are bit too naively written. Since this is YA book aimed at lower age parts of YA spectrum but I feel that what this book does, it does worse than Mortal Engines which has significantly better characters and character interactions. Overall fun read but too much unused potential for such awesome setting.

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    2019-01-28 04:43

    I really enjoyed this and I'm glad it was the first steam punk book I got to read! I loved all the different vehicles and airships throughout the book. I just had a few problems with one of the main characters, as she was super annoying, and I also thought the ending was a BUZZKILL. Other than that the story was great and I'm excited to continue on with this trilogy.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-01-30 05:47

    This is a very solid young adult book, with not too much romance shoehorned in. (That is to say, there is some romance, and it feels very shoehorny, but is on the brief side. This book in particular feels like it could have skipped the burgeoning of the feelings without in anyway detracting from the book.) I am waffling on the three or four stars right now - because I liked it enough to be interested in further books in the series without in any way falling in love with it.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Bry
    2019-02-06 05:38

    My first impression of this book is that it is beautifully done. The map on the inside covers are amazing with the details and colors. Plus the illustrations throughout the book are fantastic. Full page sketches of a scene that are highly detailed and stunning. The text itself though is not written for teens but for young pre-teens, and the characters are said to be 15-16 but appear 12 or so in the illustrations. It just all sounds and feels so juvenile. They also think, sound, and act juvenile. Every decision is not quite thought through, reckless, and without understanding of consequences. Also I don't really buy the fact that a girl dressed as a boy could really fool EVERYBODY. I mean yes, she may fool some people's eyes but there are other senses. Not mention if she was really 15 she should be way more boy crazy than she is here. Yeah it's WWI and not modern day but come on she still should have been more noticing of boys. The same goes for Alex despite the grief. What seals the nail in the coffin that is this rubbish is the fact that there is no ending whats so ever. Yes it is a a part of a series, but even a series novel should have some sort of ending, something, anything, that answers just a single question brought up in the book. But no, not in this book. Sadly this was a horrible waste of my time.

  • johanna
    2019-01-25 03:29

    Me at page 200: Me at page 201:Me at 12AM:

  • Ashley
    2019-02-15 08:30

    I don't know what happened here. How a book about an alternate history steampunk WWI where one side has clankers, and the other genetically engineered flying beasts that double as airships could be so exceptionally uninteresting and generic, I really don't know. Also one of the MC's is the son of the murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand. And the other is a girl who dresses as a boy! Also, also it was narrated by Alan Cumming! And yet, my mind wandered constantly while listening, and I had to force myself to finish.Maybe I shouldn't have done audio on this one. I only found out after I'd nearly gotten halfway through that the original hard copy has illustrations, and as wonderful as audiobooks can be, they haven't yet managed* the feat of communicating visual art by voice.*Although there is an amusing bit in Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance where he tries to describe all his graphs and visual aids, and ends up getting sassy.Maybe if I would have read this years ago, before I OD'd on YA, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood. Or maybe the characters were flat and uninteresting, and the story lacked anything that I found to be compelling, like the literary equivalent of tofu. You've got to add in flavoring to make that shit taste good. Otherwise it's just empty calories. This felt like empty calories, and I have way too many books to read to waste my time on them.Probably won't be continuing the series, but never say never, I guess.

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2019-01-28 05:35

    Just look at this cover, isn't it GORGEOUS?! I absolutely love it. It's so rich, with such sumptuous detail, wonderful design and use of colour and all the elements of the story and its genres. It's simply RIPPING!! It feels nice too, with embossed bits, shiny bits, matte bits, texture in places so that if you run your fingers over it they get all excited and tingly! The one and only thing that bothers me is the cardstock used - the cover never lies flat but is constantly (even brand new and sitting on the bookshop display table) lifting up into the air almost vertically. Hey, it's a keen book, but covers get damaged this way.This is one of those books where the gorgeous cover completely matches - and does credit to - the absolutely wonderful story inside. I'm loving this - two YA novels in a row that I can utterly GUSH over! (Count how many times I capitalise my words as a cheap way of conveying enthusiasm - actually don't count, it'll get embarrassing!) Not only is Westerfeld an utter GENIUS here, but Keith Thompson's sketches are simply STUNNING! I found myself gazing and gazing at them. They match the scenes perfectly, and really make the world come alive. Oh, and would you just look at the stunning map:Here you can see Europe, at the time of the Great War, separated along ideological lines of a new kind: the "Darwinists" depicted with impressive beasts, and the "Clankers" bristling with steam-powered machinery and weapons. The Darwinist countries, like Great Britain, have embraced not just natural selection but gene splicing, cross-breeding animals and creating incredible beasts called "fabrications" - including the Leviathan itself, an immense hydrogen ship that's not just one living organism - mostly whale - but a whole colony of organisms and beasts that each have a role to play. It's absolutely fascinating. The Clankers, on the other hand - the Germans and Hungarians etc. - have the kind of machines that are clearly inspired by Star Wars, like this giant war machine. They come in smaller two-legged varieties as well.But I best stop long enough to give you a summary, eh:Prince Aleksandar, son to Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, grandson to the emperor, is secretly bundled out of the palace on the night his parents are assassinated in Serbia. His fencing master, Count Volger, and his master of mechaniks, Otto Klopp, get fifteen year old Alek away in a Cyklop Stormwalker (a two-legged machine), but it takes Alek a while to understand the seriousness of his position. Even though his grandfather made it so Alek could never inherit the empire (because he disapproved of the woman Ferdinand decided to marry), his father and Count Volger understood that with the continent bristling for war, Alek could prove a very useful hostage, or pawn. Meanwhile, in England, sixteen year old Deryn is ready to take her middy's test and join the Air Service like her older brother Jaspert - as long as she can convince them she's really a boy. The test consists of being strapped into the seat below one of the earliest types of air ship - a Huxley. In essence a giant jelly fish filled with hydrogen that panics at the slightest thing, the Huxley goes mostly up or down and can't really be steered. But as Deryn is aloft, a storm comes and the Huxley panics - to save being smashed against a wall in its descent, she's forced to cut the rope that tethers it. Deryn keeps a calm head, and while she is drifting out to the Channel, is picked up by the Leviathan, one of the earliest and still the best air ship in the Service. Determined to be kept on board, she learns the way of the ship fast. When they make an unprecedented stop at Hyde Park in London to pick up a scientist and a very precious cargo, it is the first step in an adventure that will see Deryn and Alek meet in surprising circumstances - and form an even more unusual friendship.So, how about some more gushing? Westerfeld has created a superb world, an alternate world of steampunk technology and inventive science, with a wealth of detail and imagination. But it would be a hollow world if the characters and the story weren't equally as entrancing. Oh, and Westerfeld gets extra points for including a THYLACINE!! (Well he is somewhat Australian, after all.) I love this animal, and it was great to see it in a story, finally.Deryn is the kind of protagonist I instantly love - a tomboy in the best possible way, with a mouth full of slang and stable talk (often invented for the world), a quick mind and passion - in this case, a passion to be in the air service and serve on board the Leviathan. She has her flaws, but she's got so much spunk and bravery - and she doesn't fret or panic. True to her more humble upbringing, she provides the perfect counter-point to the palace-bred Alek, though he too rises to the occasion, learns from his mistakes and shows courage in a time of peril. He sometimes comes across as a tad sullen and spoilt, but he's also willing to admit his mistakes, apologise for them, or do what's right despite the dangers. And then when you get the two of them together, they're just great. Their personalities are vibrant but the details are subtle and come across in dialogue and action. There's not so much of that reflective instrospection (did I just make up a word there?) that's so prevalent in YA and which drives me nuts.Aside from being a wonderful adventure novel in a highly creative world, Leviathan also presents some interesting themes on the nature of science, technology, ethics and attitudes and so on. The best stories for examining interesting themes like this are the ones that don't deal with them head-on. The ones that let them play out, that let the reader notice them, think about them, question their own thoughts and reactions. Books like, say, Fahrenheit 451 are great for what they do but are also deliberately obvious and in-your-face, which doesn't always leave much room for gaining perspective. I could ramble on but I better not - I think you get how much I enjoyed this, yeah? I'm looking forward to the next book, Behemoth, with great anticipation!

  • Daniel
    2019-02-04 01:55

    Izuzetno interesantan svet, prvi svetski rat sa steampunk robotima i velikim geneticki modifikovanim zivuljkama koji se biju medju sobom. Alternativna istorija koja je dovoljno slicna pravoj a opet dovoljno promenjena da bude interesantna. Prica koja se fino razvija i daje mogucnost da se istrazi ovaj svet a opet nije optereceno info dumpovima. Likovi koji su ultra dosadni i manje vise cisti klisei sto se ponasanja tice iako imaju jako interesantne okolnosti iz kojih poticu i pricu kojja ih gura... sigh.Ali dobro sve ostalo je uber zabavno tako da sam ipak uzivao. Idemo dalje.P.S. I crtezi u knjizi su odlicni i fino docaravaju ovaj svet i razna bica u njemu.P.P.S. ovde imate slike iz knjige mada se pazite spojlera:

  • Stephen
    2019-02-15 04:49

    3.5 stars. Great concept for a book with a decent execution. The book is clearly the first in a series and not enough happens to make this a great book. That said, I love both the concept and the descriptions of the "Darwinist" fabricatred animals and the "Clanker" machines. I also love the setting of an alternative history "steampunk" World War I background. Will definitely read the next installment.

  • Denisse
    2019-02-17 01:43

    I was very tempted to give this 5 stars, but even when the book was completly amazing and smart, I know Scott will do it better in the next one.My very first Speampunk :O I have to read this genre more. Interesting, smart, a great plot and characters. Go, read it.Tal vez esa era la manera de seguir cuerdo en tiempos de guerra: un puñado de gestos nobles en medio del caos.Hasta este momento, todas las novelas de Scott que me he leído me han gustado bastante. Sin duda uno de los grandes de la literatura YA. Esta historia narra la primera guerra mundial (WWI) con unas perspectivas un poco cambiadas. Están por un lado los DARWINISTAS, osea Rusia, Inglaterra, Francia, que crean animales fabricados como armas de guerra (totalmente ingenioso e interesante aprender sobre sus criaturas), y por el otro lado están los CLANKERS, Austria, Alemania, que hacen maquinas gigantes de acero para la batalla. Tipo Pacific Rim, pero no tan gigantes XD El libro empieza con el inicio de la WWI, osea, los motivos que llevaron a estos dos lados a enfrentarse, debo darle puntos a Scott por lo increíblemente bien que manejo todo. Los personajes son muy creíbles y te muestran las dos maneras de pensar, ademas de que te harán reír un montón. Me gusto que no perdiera el humor la historia, después de todo, para que queremos un libro lleno de destrucción?, es cierto que trata de la WWI, pero no estamos de lleno en una guerra, estamos con dos personajes,y como la guerra los lleva a encontrarse, como logran poner de lado sus diferencias por el bien de ambas partes. SI, AME ESTE LIBRO! Tiene un poco de todo, ciencia, acción, tácticas de guerra, historia, buenos personajes, un personaje femenino no idiota (yeeeei).Lo único que no tiene es romance, pero obvio sacara ese asunto en la otra entrega, estoy segura! Tiene un epilogo que mas que ser un epilogo para la historia, es una explicación de lo que si sucedió en realidad en la WWI y lo que invento el autor. Scott Westerfeld es un excelente escritor, que nunca deja a sus novelas sin un toque de inteligencia.Alek y Deryn son los protagonistas por cierto, hahahahaha, son un tanto distintos, pero ambos increíbles. Recomendado, sobretodo si aun no lees el genero, esta trilogía es perfecta para empezar!

  • Isamlq
    2019-02-03 07:38

    Me, as I read Leviathan… Oh, that’s what was going on......Poor kid, all alone… in his big house… with servants… (I think I don’t like this kid.)...And he finally asks the right question. ......“Jaw, meet floor...”Me, right now: ECSTATICWhy? Because second chance books are wonderful, aren't they? Especially if they turn out much better than initially assessed. I’m so happy that I gave this another go, but what took me so long in the first place? Shifting into steampunk called for a lot of focus, focus that I lacked the first time I attempted to read it (and thank you very much, HG for said distraction,)and well, ok, that’s all I’ve got so far. This book left me with so many feelings. The first of which is the desire to own my own Fabricated Beastie. Then there’s the surprise. Surprise for liking it as much as I do right now. It is certainly different from what I normally read. There's Alek on the run after his parents are killed. His story ties in with Deryn/Dylan's story, girl disguised as a boy learning to be a pilot. Then there's the broader aspect of Darwinists versus Clankers. Now how to explain that without spoiling L, would be difficult. Suffice to say, Leviathan is good start for a series(? I hope.) Initially, Alek was not so likable. He grew on me though, as he grew in the book. He starts out playing toy soldiers and ends up a real one along the way. Deryn, was great from the get go. I loved her realization that being a boy was barking exhausting! There was a lot of action to compensate for what I viewed as a serious lack in the romance department. This did not hamper my liking of Leviathan at all.

  • Clouds
    2019-01-25 08:25

    Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.This is a book I read before The Great Goodreads Censorship Debacle blew-up and for a few weeks all thoughts of regular reviewing went right out of the window. As a quick aside on that, while we’re here: many good people have left, but to me, the reaction of the community - the solidarity, creativity and conviction shown by the many wonderful reviewers here – has convinced me that I should stay. The almighty overlords might be incompetent, but all the regular Joes are solid gold. I’ll stand up and tell the Censor exactly where he/she/it can shove the big red delete button, but I’m not going to walk away unless they kick my trouble-making ass out on the street. And if I’m sticking around, I might as well get back to business.Leviathan won the Locus YA award in 2010 - the same year that Boneshaker took the top Sci-Fi book, The City & The City won best fantasy, and The Windup Girl walked away with best debut. In the YA group, Leviathan polled ahead of Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) and Ness' The Ask and The Answer to win this award, which was no mean feat. Ever since then, the feel-good buzz around the book has gotten thicker and it's a book I was veryverymuch excited to eventually be reading!Leviathan is a great book. I bought in all the Locus YA winners before I started reading any of them, then blitzed through them like Pringles – good YA is always uber-accessible easy reading, and once you get on a roll it’s a slippery slope. That’s one reason I think big YA fans are so enthusiastic about their books; this stuff is quick, uncomplicated fun. Like a no-strings f#ck-buddy. Good YA leaves you feeling buoyed-up and ready to dive into the next one – there’s no deep-and-meaningful suckerpunch in need of a good mulling-over when you finish.Of all the YA books I read on that roll, Leviathan is my second favourite (behind Ship Breaker). The concept is pure awesome! The instigation of WW2 through a fantasy-steampunk lens. The Nazis are replaced with Clankers – mechanical geniuses who wage war in walkers (walking tanks, a la Star Wars walkers) and the Allies become the Darwinists – a fantasy science of unzipping DNA and mixing it up to breed new, custom beasties.We follow joint protagonists, one on either side of the conflict. There’s the son of Archduke Ferdinand (the dude whose death marked the tip-off for hostilities) - running for his life to Switzerland. Then there’s the girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy working for the British Air Force, ‘manning’ the titular Leviathan, a helium-filled flying whale inhabited by a whole ecology of tweeked beasties.As far as visual imagination goes, this is rich, heady stuff, gloriously splashed across the senses.The adventure is quick paced, with clear, strong characters and a simple but effective plot.For me, what let it down somewhat were the two leads. Neither really grabbed me or surprised me at any point – it felt like all the creativity had been sucked out into the wider world, leaving them grey and listless. Alright, they’re not that bad – but enough to knock a star off my rating.Leviathan really is a fine book and for me, one that lived up to the fuss. It’s a strong enough setting to carry a dozen stories if he wants to – can you imagine an epic interweaving of plots, like A Song of Ice and Fire, but set amidst this steampunk war? Ohmygoshness, I love the potential!Now that Mr Westerfeld has got the world up and running, I just hope he can put the same spark of genius into his characters for the sequel.After this I read: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

  • ✨jamieson ✨
    2019-01-31 06:26

    IMAGINE it's the mid 1800's, and Charles Darwin presents his groundbreaking research on the origin of species. But alongside that, he also presents a way to harvest "life thread" DNA from animals, and then fuse them with other animals to create new, hybrid species. Thus, the rise of the Darwinist nations -- countries which create these animal hybrids for war. Flying, whale warships, bats which will attack enemy aeroplanes, lizards which speak with human voices to relay messages. IMAGINE it's 1914, and Archduke of Austro-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, has just been assassinated, triggering the beginning of The Great War. IMAGINE a world where the great powers of Europe fight not with guns, but instead with something much more advanced. The "Darwinist" nations, Britain, France, Italy -- fight with their animal warships. The "Clanker" nations, Austro-Hungary, Germany, Serbia fight with incredibly advanced and innovative machinery capable of taking down down the "beasties" of the Darwinist nations. ( and I mean, these machines are huge. Think the army of the Fire Nation in Avatar -- or that evil machine in The Incredibles)and IMAGINE a clash between the two, imagine World War One fought not with guns - but with massive mechanical war machines and animal creatures and flying jellyfish hot-air balloons and spider-dogs and a whole host of other things I cannot describe. THIS WORLD is what you get when you pick up Leviathan and I love it ! like, aaah, I can't explain how freaking COOL it is. Like I just don't have any way to explain this world except real freakin' cool. So what's it about? Well it's about two main characters - Aleksander, the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Deryn, a member of the British Air Force. This book basically picks up on one of the great conspiracies of our time -- ( and debunked not too long ago ) who REALLY killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand? Conspiracy puts the blame on the German's, hungry for a war. So does this book. It opens on the young prince of Austro-Hungary, Aleksander. He's whisked away in the night after loyal members of his royal staff hear of his parents assassination in Serbia. Suddenly, the young prince is on the run - from the German's who killed his family, and from the Serbian's who are no friend to Austrian's. And it also follows Deryn, a young British girl with a passion for the "Darwinist" creations. She's determined to find herself on a Darwinist airship crew, but doing so involves masking her identity and pretending she's a male, since women are not allowed in the army in 1914 -- She's a Joan of Arc type. From there, the two stories grow, intertwine, grow some more. It's a real nice tale of the two characters separately, and by the way ! both are such really interesting characters. I enjoyed both their chapters equally. Aleksander was soo precious! he had a good amount of character development just in this one, and I swear I loved everything about him "As far as my granduncle is concerned, I don't exist So, you're not archduke or anything?He shook his head.Just a prince Only a prince ! Blisters, that's rough" Deryn was so feisty! She was absolutely hilarious, really witty and remarkably brave. I loved how she spoke to people and how she acted. She had a "swagger" that really made her stand out and omg she's just so cool like I wanna be her. “She was a soldier, not some girl twisting her skirts at a village dance.”WHAT ELSE WAS REAL FUNKY FRESH ABOUT THIS?Aside from the huge originality of the world building, ( and wow it's really original) there are a tonne of elements I really liked in this.- mix of history and fiction. LISTEN ! so much of this was based in fact. There were stories / characters / events that truly happened, and this was mixed in soo well with the fictional elements of the story. You could tell this was well researched and I am a massive history nerd so it was so cool to see that come across. THE ONLY BAD THING ABOUT IT WAS THAT MY HISTORY KNOWLEDGE SPOILED ME (view spoiler)[ as soon as Nora Barlow popped up I was like ding ding thats my girl Charles Darwin's granddaughter omg (hide spoiler)] - THE. PICTURES holy, moley. The pictures were so neat! I loved having a illustrated representation of the things described. It really helped develop the story in my head - like, they'd describe something and I'd be like hmm say what and then there'd be a picture which would make it so much easier to wrap my mind around the descriptions of the Darwinist creations of the Clankers and just yes.- Incorporation of Urban Legend. Okay, fun fact I'm a conspiracy theory HOE. I love em. Even though I've mentioned this, I love that this story is based around a "what if that conspiracy was real". Also, Aleks adventure gives me hecka lot of "Princess Anastasia survived the Russian Revolution" vibes and I love that.- action. packed. Seriously, the action never let up. It was go, go, go. And it had an element of panic and unrelenting energy which I suppose fits this tumultuous period in 1914.- oh, also did I mention this is really funny? As in, I was laughing out loud at the cheek of some of the characters and how they spoke anD THE LINGO THEY USED (because of course the book has it's own jargon) anyway, it was really hilarious in parts. Anyway, I was so totally blown away by this. I went into it knowing little of what it was about, and I was not expecting to absolutely end up falling in love with it. The characters, the world, the mix of history and futuristic elements, JUST YES ! so much yes. (ps. Aleksander mUST BE PROTECTED and Deryn is so fcking cute I love her so much omg what a bae)(p.p.s (view spoiler)[can't wait for Alek to find out Deryn is a girl and freak ye boi (hide spoiler)]----------Anyway, giving this a 4.5*! because it was just so freakin good - and like, I really want the next one right now and that NEVER HAPPENS. Also, this really really makes me wanna read more Steampunk