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Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan (edition 2010)

by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2732551,681 (4.01)2 / 463
Authors:Scott Westerfeld
Other authors:Keith Thompson (Illustrator)
Info:Simon Pulse (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:teen fiction, young adult fiction, science fiction, steampunk, World War I, Austria-Hungary, Hapsburgs, Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination, Darwinists, Clankers, machines, war, enemy friendships

Work details

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Recently added byprivate library, UICS, mbookshelf, Mirandalg14, redmandjd50, ohdrat, toxinic, Zaffiro
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English (253)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (254)
Showing 1-5 of 253 (next | show all)

Leviathan is a real pleasure to read. The alternate WWI setting is incredibly detailed, with the Clankers and the Darwinists replacing the Central Powers and the Allies respectively. The world feels genuinely three-dimensional: similar enough to be relatable, but sufficiently different to be interesting.

The concepts of the weaponry that both sides use are fascinating – the Leviathan and the Herkules especially so – and are really bolstered by the superb illustrations.

The writing style is evocative and stylish while remaining streamlined, and is able to succinctly convey backstory even as major events are taking place. The author also impeccably captures the voices and viewpoints of our protagonists in their alternating chapters. The plot, which contains two storylines that remain separate for about half the book, is engaging and contains some really spectacular action sequences.

The two main characters are excellent. Deryn, with her wit, bravery and intelligence, is eminently likeable (and my favorite character). But Alek’s growth as a character is remarkable. He literally goes from being a boy playing with tin soldiers to an honorable young leader, able to face difficult challenges with a cool head. The secondary characters, though somewhat one-note, are quite likeable.


There is some over-description in certain portions, and the plot does flag very briefly towards the middle, without much detriment to the book overall.

Verdict: A steampunk tale that’s epic in scope, this highly entertaining book will appeal to most fans of action and adventure.

For more reviews go to: http://readernoir.blogspot.com/ ( )
  readernoir | Jul 14, 2014 |
This one obviously took me awhile to finish. I bought it after reading Westerfeld's blog here about its release and an artist's blog gushing over the gorgeous cover and maps. I am a big Westerfeld fan, and I love sci-fi and Steampunk in general so I figured I would love it.

I did and I didn't. While I immediately loved it for the beautiful object it is (and I can't express my disappointment with the cover of Behemoth after this stunner) I found it difficult to get into. While I was fascinated by the Darwinists technology and amused by Alek and his coterie, World War I is a period of history that never really grabbed me. Reading this book became a chore and I put it down about fifty pages in and let it sit untouched for nearly a year (though I did pass it on to my husband, who devoured it, gave a copy to my brother for his birthday, and gave copies of Behemoth to both at Christmas).

What a mistake! When I picked the book up again this summer, determined to finish, I discovered that I had put it down literally five pages before it took off. I finished the rest of it in a day and got started on Behemoth. Leviathan is a beautiful book to look at, and an intriguing read. Certain plot points are rather cliche but the world is so well-crafted and the illustrations so dynamic that it makes up for any weaknesses of storytelling. It feels like a mid-twentieth century adventure book for young people, that adults can enjoy just as easily. I don't want to spoil even the smallest detail because the world of Leviathan is a delight to discover while reading. ( )
  ArmchairAuthor | Jul 3, 2014 |
Lively story, interesting characters all interwoven into the beginning of WW1. A clandestine girl airman, Darwin's grand daughter and the heir to the assassinated descendant of an aging emperor merge Darwinian bred war creatures with Clanker technology to battle the bad guys. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jun 19, 2014 |
Steampunk alternate history of WWI with engaging characters and a complex plot. ( )
  Tina_Ervin | Jun 11, 2014 |
This series is so very, very good. It addresses a lot of things that I really like in fiction: it sneaks in a bit of actual teaching of real history (the author even has an afterward in each book where he addresses what is real and what isn't and why he changed what he did which I went over with my daughter at the end. We discussed why an author might change such things for effect.) He has a female lead who is pretending to be male to serve in the military (WWI) which addresses women's rights, the capability of women (the character is very capable) and how it felt to be in that position in society at that time--even though the history is altered, that bit isn't too far off. And it addresses the differences of class- rich/poor, aristocrat/commoner, as well as looking at machines vs. biology-- there are an awful lot of comparisons going on-- yet it's done so well that while the story has you so swept up you really don't realize it's going on while it's happening. I'm just realizing a lot of this now, long after I read it.

Watch the "trailer" that was done for the book to see what it's about - it's on youtube and Scott Westerfeld's profile page. It's the only book trailer I ever watched and didn't go.. "Why did they waste their money on that?? I went"... wow, when is THAT coming out???"

Excellent book. It's fascinating, different and unique yet still a very personal story about the friendship between a girl, a boy and their really odd pet. ( )
  Clare_M | May 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 253 (next | show all)
The novel is a study in opposites, of boy versus girl, working class versus aristocracy, British versus German, and its overlying thematic division of Darwinists and Clankers gives all of these a distinctive torque, while avoiding mapping neatly to any specific agenda. The novel’s concluding set piece features a grand, elegant and very satisfying hybridization that suggests that opposites can meet, collapse and mingle, and that this story has natural sequels, which I will undoubtedly read.
Westerfeld writes gripping, relentless coming-of-age novels that are equally enjoyable by boys and girls, adults and kids, and Leviathan is no exception. I'm looking forward to volume two -- and many more to come.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 6, 2009)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Westerfeldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cumming, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosamilia, MikeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, KeithIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yuen, Sammy, Jr.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my NYC writing crew,
for knowing the importance of Craft
First words
The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised.
His Majesty's London Zoo was squawking like a bag of budgies on fire.
No one could night-walk like him.
Having your parents die was exactly like the world exploding, like a war being declared.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.
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No descriptions found.

In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.… (more)

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Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670073032, 0143206087

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