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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leviathan/Behemoth

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)Behemoth (Leviathan, #2)

It's the brink of World War I and in different parts of the European continent, two young people are making decisions and doing things that will change their lives. They are convinced to do so my circumstances that are beyond their control, and by the decisions and things, they are tossed right into the middle of what would become a global war. In this alternate history, Alek is heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and Deryn is a girl who has disguised herself as a boy to join the fight. It is Darwinist versus Clanker, fabricated beasts versus advanced technology.

I'll give two thumbs up for an interesting premise. And if I had two more thumbs, I'd give it four thumbs up for the excellent illustrations. Leviathan and it's sequel, Behemoth, are definitely fun reads. The intricacy and detail are amazing to me, it's a world that I definitely would not mind living in. The writing is also done very well. I was a little worried at the beginning of Leviathan with the second-person POV switching between characters, but I like the way it was done. Both Alek and Deryn have their own voice, enough so that when we got to a point in the books where they were in the same place at the same time, the chapters would switch and I felt like I would know whose POV it was immediately, without having to look for clues as to who is currently "speaking." 

My only little quibble with the characters is that they were written much younger than we are told they are. When I read the book, I feel more inclined to think of thirteen- or fourteen-year-olds, not sixteen-almost seventeen-year-olds. I know this isn't an issue with Scott Westerfield's writing ability, because I read his Midnighters series and the Uglies series, and both of them contained characters written to the age they were intended to be. I suppose, in some way, we get to see a little bit more of their maturing throughout the books this way. Alek started as a spoiled young prince who had nothing to gain but also nothing to lose. Deryn began the story as a girl whose dreams of flying made her dress as a boy, though her ideas were of glory and adventure, and nothing could have prepared either of them for what would follow. So I guess, in some ways, they matured as a result of their young writing. Even so, they still seem a little young for the age they're intended to be. 


That's only a little thing though, and it definitely didn't detract from the story. I wouldn't say that the story is one that I took super seriously, or really took anything away from it when I was done. It's also not a story that I will probably remember forever, though I do want to read the third one when it comes on this year and I probably will buy the series for myself once the third one comes out. Over all, it was a good story, fun to read, and very well written. Definitely another good series for Scott Westerfield, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA authors.


Last thing, I can't believe I almost forgot to mention it, is the illustrations in both books. There are almost 50 illustrations in each book, both full-page and smaller drawings. They're beautifully illustrated by Keith Thompson and definitely make the book just that much better. I absolutely adore books with illustrations, and I wish authors used them more often than they do these days.


So overall, very good series. Not life-changing or anything, but certainly worth reading and enjoying for yourself.


Rating: 8, Excellently Done

Recommended For: I'd say it is a must read for steampunk and fantasy fans. It's a fun story,  nothing serious, I think, but it is beautifully written and takes place in a world where I would certainly like to visit, sans World War I. 

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