From ICPL Staff Picks Blog
June 28 2010
Leviathan is the new book by Scott Westerfeld, author of the phenomenally successful Uglies series. It is an alternate history tale set right before the beginning of World War I. Where Westerfeld’s world diverges from our own is how the war is to be fought. The Austro-Hungarians and the Germans have giant, steam-powered, walking tanks; while the British and French use massive, fabricated beasts thanks to the breakthroughs of Charles Darwin.The story follows two different characters—Aleksander Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Deryn Sharp, a girl who has disguised herself as a boy so that she could get into the British Air Service. Westerfeld alternates between them every two chapters, and it keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. Eventually, through a series of coincidences, Alek and Deryn meet. They become unlikely allies and their actions shape the conflict that is about to be unleashed on the world.I enjoyed every page of Leviathan. Scott Westerfeld is an expert at worldbuilding. His ideas come alive and everything is engaging. Also, Leviathan is the first book in a series, and its non-ending was slightly disappointing if only because I have to wait two plus years for the story to continue. One final note—there are pencil illustrations throughout by Keith Thompson and they are quite good.