wadeaux95, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by wadeaux95)
This book is a delight. The worldbuilding is some of the most creative I've ever read, the characters are lovable and distinct, and the plot is fast-paced without sacrificing character development.
nrlymrtl, August 15, 2013 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
I absolutely loved this book. The characters are fully formed, popping off the page, or CD in my case, and continue to evolve throughout the book. The world is full of life, history, and culture. The setting of the very beginning of WWI gives the reader a starting point, but this tale doesn’t simply sit there �" no, it grabs the reader in mechanical pincers and genetically modified tentacles and drags one into an intricate plot and riotously good story. The steampunk elements easily intertwine with the alternate history that takes place. The element that I wasn’t expecting, yet worked so incredibly well, was the British Darwinists’ genetically modified beasties. Some were small (like flechette bats and straffing hawks) while some were huge (like the hydrogen breather Leviathan).
The story alternates between two points of view: Alek of Austro-Hungary and Deryn of the British Air Service. Both teens are quickly being pushed towards adulthood in this blossoming war. Deryn’s sense of humor is quick, rough, and lightens the mood of what could have been a pretty morbid alternate history. Alek, having lead a pampered semi-royal life until his most recent adventures, still manages to retain a strong sense of honor, which often leaves his protectors groaning. Count Vulgar, what side do you stand on? Scott Westerfeld has written this character so well that I can’t yet tell if the Count is simply out for his best interests, or if he is truly committed to Alek 100% and his pride is wounded when Alek no longer looks to him for every decision. Dr. Barlough with her Tasmanian Devil is another fascinating character taking no nonsense from anyone as she carries forth a diplomatic military (even scientific?) mission.
Personally, I found the beasties more fascinating than the mechanisms, but that is probably the biologist in me throwing a party over this book. Did anyone else ever play that computer game Impossible Creatures? Yeah, it’s somewhat crazy cool like that. I haven’t come across tigers with lobster claws or anything, yet, but if there was a burning need for such a beastie, I am sure Westerfeld could build it in.
Narration: Alan Cumming was fantastic. He gave this perfect, sometimes sarcastic, tone to Deryn, especially when she is cussing (Bum rag! Barking spiders!). He also did accents, and not just British. Alek and his fellow Austrians were all done in a Germanic accent (I personally can’t tell a German accent from an Austrian). Occasionally, he was called upon to make a weird mechanical or bestial noise, which he pulled off easily.
dsutton_sa, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by dsutton_sa)
Since I'm into steam punk and anything dealing with bio-mechanical weaponry, I decided to read this book. I like how it involves British Darwinists who employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the best in the British fleet. But, the story also involves two main characters in the midst of the war. One character is named Aleksandar Ferdinand, a prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His life was ruined when his people turned against him. He has no title and no empire. His only means of survival is to captain a ship called the Stormwalker and it's loyal crew. The other character is Deryn Sharp,a commoner, who disguises herself as a boy in the British Air Service. Complicated. She's always worrying that someone will find out her secret which will happen, but anyway. The two meet and an adventure ensues and they end up on the Leviathan. It's a great book.
Hannah Johnson, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Hannah Johnson)
My new favourite young adult book of all time, and without a doubt one of the best illustrator and writer combinations! I've been a huge fan of Keith Thompson's art for years so when I heard he had illustrated this book I had to buy it. The story itself, when it was first described to me, sounded interesting but nothing overly special - how wrong my first impression was! I love steampunk-themed things but sometimes I feel steampunk media gets a little too stuck on that aspect of the story and forgets about the humanity and the plot. Leviathan, however, COMPLETELY rekindled my faith and my excitement in steampunk media. When I took a chance and sat down to read this book I was hooked for life after just the first page, and couldn't put it down til the last. Leviathan has the thrill and danger of war, one of the most natural depictions of friendship and comradery I've seen in a decade, and perfectly captures the magic and epic feeling of a steampunk world without ever once distracting the reader from the true story. Impressive indeed, and a very fun and fulfilling read.
Simon Pulse -
Now in paperback, the New York Times bestselling launch of Westerfeld's masterful series that SLJ reviewd as "sure to become a classic."
A fast-paced and richly textured historical fantasy, this prequel to The Boneshaker centers around the seedy underworld of Coney Island, the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the two orphans who are determined to stop evil forces from claiming the city of New York.
A crossroads can be a place of great power. So begins this deliciously spine-tingling prequel to Kate Milfordandrsquo;s The Boneshaker, set in the colorful world of nineteenth-century Coney Island and New York City. Few crossroads compare to the one being formed by the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River, and as the bridgeandrsquo;s construction progresses, forces of unimaginable evil seek to bend that power to their advantage. Only two orphans with unusual skills stand in their way. Can the teenagers Sam, a card sharp, and Jin, a fireworks expert, stop them before itandrsquo;s too late? Here is a richly textured, slow-burning thriller about friendship, courage, and the age-old fight between good and evil.
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