Monday, March 16, 2015

A review of the Leviathan Trilogy



A Review of the Leviathan Trilogy
By Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan is the opening salvo in Scott Westerfeld’s trilogy which explores the trials and terrors of World War 1, only with an alternate Steampunk history and style. The novel focuses on the adventures of Prince Aleksander Ferdinand, son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Deryn Sharp, a British girl posing as a boy in order to serve in the Royal Air Navy.
True to the real-life situation which triggered the Great War, Alek’s parents are assassinated by Serbs, although suspicion of a conspiracy arises. Alek’s caretakers smuggle the young prince out of Austria in a desperate attempt to reach the neutral territory of
Switzerland. Meanwhile in England, a fifteen year old girl named Deryn changes her name to Dylan and signs up for the Royal Air Navy. As the result of a mishap in a training, she finds herself stuck on board the giant, living airship, Leviathan. Events converge and the teens end up meeting on a Swiss glacier.
The two are from completely different worlds and backgrounds. The British refer to themselves as Darwinists. Following the teachings and science of Charles Darwin, they have learned the secrets of life threads and as such are able to manufacture living
creatures to serve ever purpose, from messenger lizards to the giant floating whale which is in fact, their airships. The Germans and Austrians are Clankers. Their use of mechanical devices has advanced to the point that airships, aircraft and giant walking monstrosities, bristling with guns and cannons are common place.
As we progress from Leviathan to Behemoth and finally to Goliath, we see the pair growing closer while soaring around the globe on board the massive airship. The novels are punctuated with great action, outstanding characters and a rich, well described world. The mash-up of real events and historical characters with the fictional world of Alek & Deryn is brilliantly executed and leaves us longing for the next book in the series to see what path Mr. Westerfeld will take us down. 
This is a great start and a must for steampunk fans. Although billed as a young adult series, this book is great for folks of all ages.
5 Stars for each from Alan.