Monday, April 19, 2010


Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

So, everyone was pretty excited to read this book. I was glad when I got my hands on it, but I must say I didn't find it as amazing as I thought I would.

This book has two points of views. Alek's and Deryn's. First good point is that you see very well the differences between the world of Clankers and Darwinists. The dialogues and the mannerism is well adapted, and so when you have interactions between Alek and Deryn you see Deryn's strong tendency to curse and use slang-talk, and Alek's polite and fine way of speaking. I personally preferred Alek's point view, maybe because I have a liking for nobles and their fanciness and I liked Alek's royalty drama better than Deryn's i'm-a-boy-not-a-girl acting. The one thing I disliked in the character crew is that both Deryn and Alek look like children. They also act like ones, look like ones on the illustrations, and the things they say make you imagine them as 12-year-olds. I don't mind younger protagonists that much, but in this context it was a bit queer, and not what I had expected from Westerfield.

Even if finely described and furnished with at least two illustrations per chapter, the story didn't pick up until half the book. Well, I can't say it didn't 'pick up', because from the beginning of the story to the end action is rolling on. I just mean that the story didn't hook me until about the 250th page, which is when Deryn and Alek finally meet.

I found the concept of the story very interesting, and I love this war between Darwinists and Clankers, but I didn't find much alternation between the real World War I and Leviathan. Except the main concept and the characters, there are no new governmental systems, no new countries, nor a new 'world' that acts differently from ours but that still relates to it. All those beasties and the way they work are fantastic though.

In the end, I enjoyed this book, but it didn't send me over-the-heels. I didn't mind putting it away to finish some other books. I'll gladly purchase the second book, or simply borrow it as I think I won't feel the need to re-read the first or the second. The cover illustration was really nice, though, and I loved the caricature map.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Rating: 8,3/10


  1. I have to say that I love the illustrations in this book and I will probably keep it forever but it wasn't one of my favorite reads - good, but not great. I'm interested to see where he will go with the series and I have a feeling it's really almost more middle grade fiction and that's why us YA lovers thought it a little lacking.

  2. One thing I really have to hand to Scott Westerfeld is that he writes action well. Having not actually read this book yet, but his Uglies series, (of which the fourth one was really annoying), I like his style of writing and am curious to read more by him.

    Thanks for the review.


And now, the words are yours!