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Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan (edition 2010)

by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,4072631,584 (4)2 / 491
Authors:Scott Westerfeld
Other authors:Keith Thompson (Illustrator)
Info:Simon Pulse (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

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    Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: 'Both stories are about an adventurous and headstrong girl disguising herself as a boy for a chance to join the military. Jacky is trying to make a living for herself and escape poverty during the Napoleonic Wars and joins the Navy as a ship\'s boy in Bloody Jack. Deryn Sharp wants nothing more than to join the Royal Air Corps in Leviathan - a steampunk alternate history of WWI. Both books are packed full of adventure and spunky protagonists.… (more)
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English (261)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (262)
Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
So, Leviathan is a steampunk historical fiction young adult series involving two main characters with double perspective narration. Sounds exciting as soon as I picked it up. Alek is a prince from Austria-Hungary on the run while Deryn is a girl in hiding in the British Air Service. Both have their own conflicts and secrets that play influence all their actions throughout the book.

I didn’t go in expecting a lot of..ahem romantic sub-plot, and found myself relieved that what little there was, never took away from the scenes playing out. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I absolutely despise when characters let go of their current situations (such as a war) and choose to …get it on regardless of their present spot. Deryn and Alek’s feelings never got in the way, and during the end you can understand why one may be getting more-than-friends thoughts for the other. Little moments like that make me gush more than out of nowhere declarations of love. Also, NO love triangle! Thank you, Scott Westerfeld, I really hope it doesn’t happen in the rest of the series.

4.5/5 stars, leaning towards 5.

The main characters were so well thought out and felt three dimensional, with their own pasts entangling with their present actions. Everything they did felt justified, even though sometimes Deryn and Alek both made some stupid decisions. I especially loved loved Deryn’s character, everything badass and all the cleverness! I sometimes forget she’s very new to the air service with all the quick decisions she makes throughout war. The secondary characters were so enjoyable to read about, especially Volger who can be a right ass sometimes to Alek. It was so great though, since he needs a little head-butt kicking every once in a while being the heir to a nation.

This was basically everything I wanted from a steampunk book, and more. Everything! The way the story plays out reminds me of the adventure filled writing of Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn series, which was also a marvelous find. The rebels and political drama felt extremely realistic and the Clankers vs. Beasties plot points fit in very well, the lovely drawings by Keith Thompson definitely helped in the beginning of the book and emphasized the magnitudes of these creatures. Think something straight out of Pacific Rim, only during the World War era. The story itself moved pretty slowly but Westerfeld’s writing; I like it! It rarely felt forced or random. I think people who have read the Uglies series will probably like it, I will definitely be picking up the rest of this series and his other series as well. ( )
  bubblyair | Mar 13, 2015 |
When I'm bogged down in a long series of "important" books, books that I "should" be reading, books that I am obligated to read for my work and my community, books that are "good for me"...I can always count on good young adult fantasy/science fiction to restore the joy of reading. Westerfield's alternate historical world is unique, plausible, and well-described. His characters are even better. Their burdens are real, relatable, and painful, yet the story stays light. I'm happy to be reading a book that doesn't make me nervous and anxious about what will happen next. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
Dylan Sharp is a young midshipman in the British Air Service and Alek is being hunted by the German army when their paths collide. They both have secrets. Dylan is really Deryn – a young woman. Alek is really Aleksandar Ferdinand, son of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Deryn is on her way to mastering flight in the air ships fabricated by the Darwinists out of living organisms. Alek is on his way to mastering the mechanical walking beasts used by the Clankers as war machines. If they are to have any hope of achieving their goals, they must become unlikely allies.

This was my first venture into the steampunk genre and I had no idea it would be so much fun. The time period is recognizable as the early weeks of World War I, although Westerfeld changes many of the historical details to fit the alternate world he's created. The afterword identifies which parts of the story are real and which parts are imaginary. I see more steampunk in my future, even if it's only the other two books in Westerfeld's trilogy. Although the ending isn't exactly what I would call a cliffhanger, there are secrets left to be revealed in the other books in the trilogy. Since Deryn and Alek are both 15, middle school students would seem to be the target audience for the book. There's plenty of action and adventure for boys, a strong female protagonist for girls, and an alternate world/history with crossover appeal for adults. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jan 11, 2015 |
*From Book Obsession: http://bookobsessiongpl.blogspot.com/2012/11/kearstens-book-club-leviathan-by-sc... *

This week, Kearsten's Book Club met for the last time in 2012 to discuss the first in Scott Westerfeld's steampunk trilogy, Leviathan. Set in an alternate pre-World War I history, Leviathan is the story of Alek, the on-the-run, orphaned son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Deryn, a British teen who's disguised herself as a boy in order to join the British Air Service. These two form a tenuous friendship, but not before some major crazy air and steam warfare goes down.

Book club was small this month, but we had a great discussion about this illustrated (in a style Westerfeld describes as 'Victorian manga', a description that we LOVE) steampunk story pitting steam-driven machines against genetically engineered animal/machines. We discussed the ethical and moral implications of the Darwinists' creations (hydrogen-producing whale airships, hybrid tiger-wolves), the advanced technology and the way it contrasted with the strict social hierarchy of the Victorian era, and what, if anything, mattered enough to each of us to get us to hide who we are (male/female) in order to get it. We also discussed the fact that so many of the events of the story are based on actually historical happenings - one of our book clubbers wondered why more history books aren't written in this exciting, narrative style!

We also talked about the illustrations, done by Keith Thompson, with nearly all of us feeling the book would have been incomplete without them - Kearsten, for example, didn't have trouble picturing the Austrian mechanical devices, but simply couldn't picture the whale-sized leviathan without the help of the awesome pictures!

Overall, Kearsten's Book Club enjoyed Leviathan, and #MustacheYouToRead it!

Already read the Leviathan series? Try out one of these similar titles, recommended by book club members!

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Lyra Belacqua is content wot run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her demon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle -- a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (beginning with Clockwork Angel). When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Fell's older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London's dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong...and science proves a dangerous toy...

And if you've a love of anime, Michelle recommends you watch Steamboy (description from IMDB.com): In 1860s Britain, a boy inventor finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly conflict over a revolutionary advance in steam power. ( )
  kayceel | Jan 3, 2015 |
Really enjoyed it, especially the worldbuilding! Looking forward to Book 2! More later, hopefully.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 261 (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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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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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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670073032, 0143206087

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