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Goliath by Scott Westerfield
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Goliath (edition 2011)

by Scott Westerfield

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914769,616 (4.17)142
Member:jolerie
Title:Goliath
Authors:Scott Westerfield
Info:Simon & Schuster Canada (2011), Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Public Library, Read 2012, Completed, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:YA, steampunk, last in series, WW II, New York, United States, Siberia, Germany, alliances, war, machines, beasties, creatures, heir, Tesla, weapon, romance, love, disguise, truth identity, lies, honesty, friendship, allies

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Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

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English (74)  Japanese (1)  German (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
Goliath is the conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, an alternate-history WWI steampunk YA adventure series in which Franz Ferdinand’s fictional heir Alek attempts to stop the ongoing war while travelling around the world on the living British airship Leviathan, assisted by able young cadet Dylan Sharp – actually Deryn Sharp, a boy in disguise. Goliath greatly expands the scope of the story, with the Leviathan travelling across Siberia and Japan, crossing the Pacific and eventually reaching North America. It’s probably objectively the best book of the series.

Unfortunately I found the trilogy as a whole underwhelming. It’s competently written, and Westerfeld clearly has a marvellous imagination, but much of it too often feels like a publisher’s ideal YA series rather than something more original or daring. We check off all of the following cliches: noble child on the run learning to live amongst common people, girl who dresses up like a boy to serve in the military, fetishisation of British naval service, scheming journalists and foolish millionaires, an inevitable romance between the two leads, and cute animal sidekicks which eventually prove irrelevant to the plot. And the alternate history setting, which was put to good effect in Leviathan and Behemoth, becomes tiresome in Goliath, as Westerfeld takes us on a roll call of all the era’s famous figures. Nikola Tesla is integral to the plot and is put to good use, but by the time the Leviathan went on a Mexican detour purely, it seemed, for the purposes of meeting Pancho Villa, I was starting to get annoyed.

I suppose what I didn’t like about the Leviathan trilogy was that it never really surprised me. Can’t we have YA fiction where the main leads don’t fall in love just because they’re of the opposite sex? Can’t we have strong roles for female characters that don’t involve putting on trousers and doing boy stuff? Can’t we have characters’ fears about punishment or consequences actually realised, instead of everything turning out OK at the end of each book? We can, of course, and there’s plenty of YA fiction out there that does that (I feel like a broken record going on about Philip Reeve, but I’m also thinking of John Christopher – who, to be fair, had the benefit of writing YA fiction before the term itself was invented by publishers as a marketing angle). And I don’t want to suggest that genre subversion is a mandatory prerequisite for successful YA fiction. I’m just trying to put my finger on why, despite many points in its favour, I found the Leviathan trilogy ultimately unsatisfying.

Anyway, that’s just my take. Although I think it’s true that nobody’s ever too old to read YA fiction it’s also important to remember that I’m no longer the genre’s target audience. If you’re looking for fun young adult fiction, or are stocking a school library or your kid’s Christmas stocking, by all means give this series a try. I thought it was okay, and a lot of people loved it more than me. ( )
1 vote edgeworth | Dec 2, 2014 |
This is the first steam punk title I've read, so it took me A WHILE to wrap my mind around what was happening. But once it "clicked"--WOW! With issues ranging from gender identification to the ethicality of genetic engineering, this series is both entertaining and substantial. ( )
  CrystalAntoinette | Oct 16, 2014 |
The series grew on me as I continued to read through them. Alex and Deryn's attempts to reconcile, despite all odds, along with the details of W.W.I. unveiling, kept me reading to the very end. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
A decent end to this series.

The inclusion of Tesla and the other inventors was.. interesting. Not surprising because the book did have the whole Darwinism and Clanker divide along with a bit of steampunk elements - and who in history is touted as a technology genius forgotten by history? Tesla, of course.

The whole plotline about his machine was a little dumb though, especially the way it ended. You would think bluffs would not work as they do in books. But hey, what can I say.

I did appreciate the romance ending. No fuss, no drama. That's a good way to tie things up.

I still have the same complaints about the world and the politics as my review of the first book in this series.

This series is just okay. Nothing to scream about, but nothing really to hate either. I would recommend Airborn by Kenneth Oppel over this book. But still, it's okay. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I think this was a great wrap up to the series. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Westerfeldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thompson, KeithIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cumming, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosamilia, MikeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sammy Yuen, Jr.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To everyone who loves a long-secret romance, revealed at last.
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"Siberia," Alek said. The word slipped cold and hard from his tongue, as forbidding as the landscape passing below.
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Alek and Deryn encounter obstacles on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek's throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love.

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