Leviathan (Leviathan Series #1)

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Overview

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned ...

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Overview

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl 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 the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On the eve of World War I, conflicts in Europe are coming to a bloody boil. On every side, governments are frantically arming themselves with new weaponry and sorting out likely friends and foes. On the whole continent, perhaps the oddest pairing of all is the makeshift alliance bred in danger between Aleksandar Ferdinand, fugitive prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Deryn Sharp, a daring British airwoman disguised as a boy. Both have secrets that they must conceal and now face dangers of literally global proportions. A steampunk series by the author of the Uglies and the Midnighters series.
Austin Grossman
Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan is a tightly paced young adult novel set in an alternate version of the First World War and a welcome addition to the steampunk genre…Westerfeld's imagery is enhanced by Keith Thompson's old-fashioned black-and-white illustrations, which lend an extra dimension of reality to this world. And the Darwinist and Clanker jargon crackles with an authentically techie feel.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Launching a planned four-book series, Westerfeld (the Uglies series) explores an alternate 1914 divided between Darwinists, who advocate advanced biotechnology, and Clankers, masters of retrofuturistic mechanical engineering. Austria-Hungary's Prince Aleksandar is whisked away into the night by trusted advisers; he soon learns that his parents, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Countess Sophie, have been murdered and that he has been targeted by prowar Germans. Half a continent away, Deryn Sharp successfully passes as a young man to join the British Air Service; her bravery during a catastrophic first flight aboard a genetically enhanced jellyfish (“The creatures' fishy guts could survive almost any fall, but their human passengers were rarely so lucky”) earns Deryn a post on the living airship Leviathan. The fortunes of war lead Aleksandar and Deryn to the Swiss Alps, where they must cooperate or face destruction at the hands of the Germans. The protagonists' stories are equally gripping and keep the story moving, and Thompson's detail-rich panels bring Westerfeld's unusual creations to life. The author's fully realized world has an inventive lexicon to match—readers will be eager for the sequels. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Timothy Capehart
Awakened in the middle of the night, fifteenyear- old Prince Aleksandar, son of Archduke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at first thinks he is headed out for some night training in one of the family's Stormwalker war machines. His teachers, however, have entirely different motives for getting the Prince out of the castle. Alek's parents have been assassinated, and his life is in danger. Meanwhile fifteen-year-old Deryn Sharp, who studied flight with her now dead father, is so desperate to continue her studies that she has convinced her brother to help her pass as "Dylan" and join the British Air Service. Unlike the "Clankers" of Germany and Austria who depend on machines, the Darwinists of France and England use fabricated beasts (genetically engineered animals) in all aspects of their lives. On a short trip up in a hydrogen-breathing, balloon-like Huxley (a huge animal based on a jellyfish), Deryn flies off course and ends up joining the crew of the whale ship Leviathan. Through battle and circumstance, the two end up becoming friends and find their missions and their lives entwined in this first volume of a new series by the author of the popular Uglies series. Set in 1914, alternate-history science fiction combines well with Thompson's fabulously detailed illustrations but gets a bit of its base science wrong. The inventiveness of the milieu, however, more than makes up for it. The characters are not as engaging or the story as compelling as the many battle sequences, but there is much here to interest fans of Reeve's Hungry Cities series or the less-juvenile fantasies of Hayao Miyazaki. Reviewer: Timothy Capehart
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is a combination historical novel/fantasy-science fiction coming-of-age story. In 1914, Europe is split between "Darwinists" and "Clunkers"—Britain and her allies, and Germany and hers. The Darwinists have used what they call "life-threads" to clone extinct animals and manipulate genetics to the point where whales can fly and lizards can communicate (after a fashion) with people. The Clunkers consider that all of this is blasphemous and evil. So, we begin with the Clunkers. Aleksander, called Alek, is the son of the Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His mother is a commoner, so Alek "has had enemies since the day he was born." But it is July 1914, and his parents have just been assassinated. Fortunately, he has some friends in the Army who were privy to his father's plans for just this situation. So while he feels that he has been kidnapped, he is being protected—but from whom? Can he trust Master Klopp or Count Volger? The pattern of the book is established here, as we are introduced to Deryn Sharp, a British girl who would really rather be a boy. Her father has died recently in a flying accident, and she knows that she would be a terrific soldier or sailor—and her older brother decides to help her. She cuts off her hair, puts on boys clothes, and enlists in the Navy as Midshipman Dylan Sharp. Every few chapters we switch viewpoints, and the characters are so real that we really do not know whose side we should be on. By the end of the book we are not even sure who will win the war—but it is all right because there will be another volume to the series. A terrific read. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This is World War I as never seen before. The story begins the same: on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, triggering a sequence of alliances that plunges the world into war. But that is where the similarity ends. This global conflict is between the Clankers, who put their faith in machines, and the Darwinists, whose technology is based on the development of new species. After the assassination of his parents, Prince Aleksandar's people turn on him. Accompanied by a small group of loyal servants, the young Clanker flees Austria in a Cyklop Stormwalker, a war machine that walks on two legs. Meanwhile, as Deryn Sharp trains to be an airman with the British Air Service, she prays that no one will discover that she is a girl. She serves on the Leviathan, a massive biological airship that resembles an enormous flying whale and functions as a self-contained ecosystem. When it crashes in Switzerland, the two teens cross paths, and suddenly the line between enemy and ally is no longer clearly defined. The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, and that's a good thing because readers will be begging for more. Enhanced by Thompson's intricate black-and-white illustrations, Westerfeld's brilliantly constructed imaginary world will capture readers from the first page. Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
The fate of many rests in the hands of an Austrian schoolboy and a British airman, both in disguise. Alek is the son of the recently assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, hiding from European nations hostile to his father. Midshipman Dylan is really Deryn, a girl passing as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service. Alek has fled home in a steam-powered Stormwalker, one of the great manned war machines of the Central Powers. Meanwhile, Deryn's berth is on a massive airbeast, a genetically engineered hydrogen-breather, one of the Darwinist ships of the Allied Powers. The growing hostilities of what is soon to become the Great War throw the two together, and Darwinists and Clankers must work together if they all want to survive. Two Imperial forces meet, one built with steam and the other built with DNA, producing rich, vivid descriptions of the technologies that divide a continent. The setting begs comparisons to Hayao Miyazaki, Kenneth Oppel and Naomi Novik, but this work will stand-or fly-on its own. (Science fiction. 12-15)
The Barnes & Noble Review

From Paul Di Filippo's "SPECULTATOR" column on The Barnes & Noble Review


Has steampunk jumped Captain Nemo's clockwork shark yet?

The genre -- succinctly described as a mix of archaic tech (either real or fanciful), the supernatural, and postmodern metafictional tricksterism, set in the consensus historical past or alternate timelines -- was first christened in 1987, a lifetime ago as cultural and literary fads are measured, in a letter to Locus magazine from the writer K. W. Jeter. Of course, the actual roots of the form extend back even further, perhaps as early as 1965, when a certain television show named The Wild, Wild West debuted.

Some literary styles and tropes wane with their cultural moment, but others have proved exceedingly long-lived, with writers continually discovering unexplored narrative possibilities within elastic bounds. Perhaps the best example is the Gothic, still with us today, and flourishing, despite being a couple of centuries old.

But steampunk has exfoliated beyond the merely literary, into the daily lives of its fans. Like Civil War re-enactors or medievalist members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, "steampunks" now include those for whom the novels and stories have been superseded by cosplay, crafting, music, partying, artwork, manga, anime, feature films, and the creation of props or working hardware. For every reader and writer of steampunk fiction, there are probably hundreds or thousands of other activists who gleefully embrace some non-written manifestation of the steampunk ethos.

Generally speaking, by the time a subculture such as steampunk secures the attention of major media, resulting in extensive coverage of the craze, said phenomenon is already on the way out. But despite numerous and growing features about steampunk in the national press, such does not seem to be the case, at least in terms of fiction. The juggernaut that is steampunk, like Dr. Loveless's giant mechanical spider in the 1999 film version of The Wild, Wild West, seems capable of crushing all naysayers.

Yet what of the literature itself -- now transformed into something of an appendage -- that spawned the movement? Has it exhausted all the radium bullets in its Gatling gun, or is fresh work still capable of surprising the reader?

Well, the latter half of 2009 proved to be a fine period for steampunk, and 2010 seems to be starting out likewise, with a new novel that manages to do some uncanny things with the genre. (As well, readers should be alerted to Steampunk Reloaded, a forthcoming anthology compiled by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.)

Cherie Priest's brand of steampunk featured an adolescent protagonist whose actions were circumscribed within a tiny venue, in a book that nonetheless sported a fully adult texture. Contrastingly, in Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld's youthful, globe-hopping heroes star in a book staunchly aimed at a big-screen-friendly YA audience, mightily abetted by gorgeous B&W illustrations from Keith Thompson. That's merely the beginning of the differences that serve to illustrate the wide range of steampunk.

Westerfeld paints his picture on a realpolitik canvas absent from Priest's domestic frame. The year is 1914, and war is imminent, upon the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. But aside from that, all is different in this alternate continuum. The Germans and their allies, known as "Clankers," have perfected super-mechanized craft of war. The British, or "Darwinists," rely on bioengineering: aerial whales, souped-up tiger draft beasts, and so forth. Garnering our attention among the Clankers is Prince Alek, only child of Franz and commoner Sophie, on the run from the Austrian Emperor. Among the Brits, Deryn, a young girl masquerading as a male midshipman in the imperial airforce. Their personalities are fierce and real, their inevitable meeting staged nicely and with zest.

Cleverly overlaying Bruce Sterling's famous Mechanist/Shaper dichotomy upon twentieth-century history in a warping fashion, carefully allotting sympathy to both sides of the conflict, staging both small- and large-scale scenes with finesse and aplomb, Westerfeld steadily builds a world that we soon accept as totally real and palpable. His inventiveness with the details of the competing imaginary technologies renders the rival paradigms sharp and bristly, with the complex stakes involved plain to see.

The first in a series, Leviathan, as the author says in his Afterword, does indeed truly utilize steampunk's ability to address both past and future simultaneously.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416971733
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Series: Leviathan Series , #1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 154,227
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is the author of the Leviathan series, the first book of which was the winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. His other novels include the New York Times bestselling Uglies series, The Last Days, Peeps, So Yesterday, and the Midnighters trilogy. Visit him at ScottWesterfeld.com or follow him on Twitter at @ScottWesterfeld.

Keith Thompson’s work has appeared in books, magazines, TV, video games, and films. See his work at KeithThompsonArt.com.

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Read an Excerpt

ONE

The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised. Behind them two ranks of diesel-powered walking machines stood ready to fire, cannon aimed over the heads of the cavalry. A zeppelin scouted no-man’s-land at the center of the battlefield, its metal skin sparkling.

The French and British infantry crouched behind their fortifications—a letter opener, an ink jar, and a line of fountain pens—knowing they stood no chance against the might of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But a row of Darwinist monsters loomed behind them, ready to devour any who dared retreat.

The attack had almost begun when Prince Aleksandar thought he heard someone outside his door… .

He took a guilty step toward his bed—then froze in place, listening hard. Trees stirred in a soft breeze outside, but otherwise the night was silent. Mother and Father were in Sarajevo, after all. The servants wouldn’t dare disturb his sleep.

Alek turned back to his desk and began to move the cavalry forward, grinning as the battle neared its climax. The Austrian walkers had completed their bombardment, and it was time for the tin horses to finish off the woefully outnumbered French. It had taken all night to set up the attack, using an imperial tactics manual borrowed from Father’s study.

It seemed only fair that Alek have some fun while his parents were off watching military maneuvers. He’d begged to be taken along, to see the mustered ranks of soldiers striding past in real life, to feel the rumble of massed fighting machines through the soles of his boots.

It was Mother, of course, who had forbidden it—his studies were more important than “parades,” as she called them. She didn’t understand that military exercises had more to teach him than musty old tutors and their books. One day soon Alek might be piloting one of those machines.

War was coming, after all. Everyone said so.

The last tin cavalry unit had just crashed into the French lines when the soft sound came from the hallway again: jingling, like a ring of keys.

Alek turned, peering at the gap beneath his bed chamber’s double doors. Shadows shifted along the sliver of moonlight, and he heard the hiss of whispers.

Someone was right outside.

Silent in bare feet, he swiftly crossed the cold marble floor, sliding into bed just as the door creaked open. Alek narrowed his eyes to a slit, wondering which of the servants was checking on him.

Moonlight spilled into the room, making the tin soldiers on his desk glitter. Someone slipped inside, graceful and dead silent. The figure paused, staring at Alek for a moment, then crept toward his dresser. Alek heard the wooden rasp of a drawer sliding open.

His heart raced. None of the servants would dare steal from him!

But what if the intruder were something worse than a thief? His father’s warnings echoed in his ears… .

You have had enemies from the day you were born.

A bell cord hung next to his bed, but his parents’ rooms were empty. With Father and his bodyguard in Sarajevo, the closest sentries were quartered at the other end of the trophy hall, fifty meters away.

Alek slid one hand under his pillow, until his fingers touched the cold steel of his hunting knife. He lay there holding his breath, grasping the handle tightly, repeating to himself his father’s other watchword.

Surprise is more valuable than strength.

Another figure came through the door then, boots clomping, a piloting jacket’s metal clips jingling like keys on a ring. The figure tromped straight toward his bed.

“Young master! Wake up!”

Alek let go of the knife, expelling a sigh of relief. It was just old Otto Klopp, his master of mechaniks.

The first figure began rifling through the dresser, pulling at clothes.

“The young prince has been awake all along,” Wildcount Volger’s low voice said. “A bit of advice, Your Highness? When pretending to be asleep, it is advisable not to hold one’s breath.”

Alek sat up and scowled. His fencing master had an annoying knack for seeing through deception.

“What’s the meaning of this?”

“You’re to come with us, young master,” Otto mumbled, studying the marble floor. “The archduke’s orders.”

“My father? He’s back already?”

“He left instructions,” Count Volger said with the same infuriating tone he used during fencing lessons. He tossed a pair of Alek’s trousers and a piloting jacket onto the bed.

Alek stared at them, half outraged and half confused.

“Like young Mozart,” Otto said softly. “In the arch-duke’s stories.”

Alek frowned, remembering Father’s favorite tales about the great composer’s upbringing. Supposedly Mozart’s tutors would wake him in the middle of the night, when his mind was raw and defenseless, and thrust musical lessons upon him. It all sounded rather disrespectful to Alek.

He reached for the trousers. “You’re going to make me compose a fugue?”

“An amusing thought,” Count Volger said. “But please make haste.”

“We have a walker waiting behind the stables, young master.” Otto’s worried face made an attempt at a smile. “You’re to take the helm.”

“A walker?” Alek’s eyes widened. Piloting was one part of his studies he’d gladly get out of bed for. He slipped quickly into the clothes.

“Yes, your first night lesson!” Otto said, handing Alek his boots.

Alek pulled them on and stood, then fetched his favorite pilot’s gloves from the dresser, his footsteps echoing on the marble floor.

“Quietly now.” Count Volger stood by the chamber doors. He cracked them and peered out into the hall.

“We’re to sneak out, Your Highness!” Otto whispered. “Good fun, this lesson! Just like young Mozart!”

The three of them crept down the trophy hall, Master Klopp still clomping, Volger gliding along in silence. Paintings of Alek’s ancestors, the family who had ruled Austria for six hundred years, lined the hallway, their subjects staring down with unreadable expressions. The antlers of his father’s hunting trophies cast tangled shadows, like a moonlit forest. Every footstep was magnified by the stillness of the castle, and questions echoed in Alek’s mind.

Wasn’t it dangerous, piloting a walker at night? And why was his fencing master coming along? Count Volger preferred swords and horses over soulless mechaniks, and had little tolerance for commoners like old Otto. Master Klopp had been hired for his piloting skills, not his family name.

“Volger …,” Alek began.

Quiet, boy!” the wildcount spat.

Anger flashed inside Alek, and a curse almost burst from his mouth, even if it ruined their stupid game of sneaking out.

It was always like this. To the servants he might be “the young archduke,” but nobles like Volger never let Alek forget his position. Thanks to his mother’s common blood, he wasn’t fit to inherit royal lands and titles. His father might be heir to an empire of fifty million souls, but Alek was heir to nothing.

Volger himself was only a wildcount—no farmlands to his name, just a bit of forest—but even he could feel superior to the son of a lady-in-waiting.

Alek managed to stay quiet, though, letting his anger cool as they stole through the vast and darkened banquet kitchens. Years of insults had taught him how to bite his tongue, and disrespect was easier to swallow with the prospect of piloting ahead.

One day he would have his revenge. Father had promised. The marriage contract would be changed somehow, and Alek’s blood made royal.

Even if it meant defying the emperor himself.

© 2009 Scott Westerfeld

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 478 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(290)

4 Star

(114)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 479 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Enjoyable Read

    Before all the teenage steampunk fans crucify me for the perceived low rating, let me explain my system. Five stars would mean this is one of the best books ever written, one that I'll re-read multiple times over my life. Four stars means an excellent book that I'll likely re-read one or more times. Three stars means a good book that time permitting I may read again sometime, or in the case of a series, I will definitely read the next installment. So, three stars is really a pretty good rating. I just think that, like grades in school, ratings can get awfully inflated to the point that they become meaningless.

    Now, to the critique. The story's concept is interesting enough--combining traditional steampunk (if steampunk is even old enough to have a tradition) with genetic engineering. The genetic engineering part, making ships and such out of altered animals, isn't a new concept--see Harry Harrison's West of Eden, published in 1984. But, this is well-conceived for the most part and adds an interesting element of conflict to the story, more so than just two cultures with the same "Clanker"-type technology. The story line too is interesting--the young girl masquerading as a boy in order to be in the air service, and the young prince caught in a political struggle for control of an empire. Prince Alek's situation is neatly tied in with the actual historical assassination of the Archduke that led to our real-world World War I. The main characters are fairly well drawn and likeable. Some of the supporting characters are a bit one-dimensional but it's not a serious flaw.

    The book has one rather egregious technical error, which while it doesn't really affect the story, is also one that would have been easily avoided. Several references are made to the odor of hydrogen, including a scene in which Dylan/Deryn chides Alek for not being able to recognize it. The trouble is, neither should Dylan or anyone else, because hydrogen is odorless. This could have easily been solved by having the hydrogen tagged with a marker gas (like methane--that vaguely fart like smell is not actual methane, which like hydrogen is both flammable and odorless). Or, more in line with the genetic engineering theme, would be to genetically engineer the sniffer dogs so that the presence of hydrogen in their noses would create another chemical they could smell. Or both--the sniffers could be engineered to detect very low levels of hydrogen that wouldn't be picked up by the humans even with a tag gas.

    Other weaknesses include the heavy reliance on altered beasts to perform jobs on the airship. With the emphasis on weight that is so important for a lighter-than-air ship, one would think that having to keep dozens of hydrogen sniffers on board plus their food would make the air service think seriously of coming up with something a bit more mechanical that would take up less weight, space, and not need food. It's not too hard to conceive of a mechanical device to sense hydrogen leaks. Likewise the birds and bats used for defensive and offensive purposes--the range seems limited, and birds and bats will fly much slower than bullets. It would seem to be pretty easy to develop attack tactics for the Clanker airplanes to stay out of range of the birds and bats and blast the whale airship with incendiaries.

    All of these nits aside, the book was an entertaining read, and I will most likely read the next one in the series.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    A Futeristic Trip Through History

    Leviathan

    Have you ever experienced that exhilarating rush of relief on the last day of school? The realization: no more anything, no more homework! Suddenly, your teacher stands up to make an announcement. They blubber on, you're growing up so fast, blablabla, and she tells you that you have to read a history book. History? You know you're going to be bored. But you don't have to be. The Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, is fantasy/history, so make sure to stock up on some snacks for the hours in bed you're going to spend snared in the adventure!
    There are two sides to this story, but we'll start out with Aleksander Ferdinand, the 15 year old prince of Austria-Hungary. While he is in the palace, supposed to be sleeping, he steals away with the Master of Mechaniks, Otto Klopp, and his Fencing Master, Count Volger, into a Cyclops Stormwalker, a huge war machine, after learning that his parents were assassinated in Serbia, a Darwinist nation.
    Darwinist nations include Russia, France, Britain, Algeria, and Serbia, and they employ fabricated beasts as their weapons, while Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire are Clankers; they rely on their steam driven war machines. Alek is no exception, as he flees in his war machine. The risk of the new reign sending his assassins to destroy the threat (Alek)is too great.
    With the aid of his small crew, they pilot the Stormwalker through enemy Clanker lines to Switzerland, which is neither Darwinist nor Clanker. Therefore, it remains neutral in the coming war driven by his parent's death, and conceals a castle full of provisions for Alek to wait out the war.

    The other side of this adventure is the perspective of a young 15 year old Darwinist girl named Deryn. She has always dreamed of being in the Air Fleet, but only boys are admitted. However, she disguises herself as a boy and gains entry. When she gets there, she, along with her peers, has to take a test to rule out the squeamish. This involves riding up in a Huxley, a hydrogen breathing air-jellyfish. As she floats up (totally unafraid) a storm blows her and the Huxley away, and they become stranded in the sky.

    Lo and behold, a savior appears-the Leviathan! The Leviathan is a huge, living sperm whale that turns its food into hydrogen, keeping it aloft. It has blimp-like parts, including walkthrough innards and a metal compound on its belly. After securing Deryn as part of its crew, they touch down to pick up a mysterious woman with an equally mysterious clutch of eggs in tow. Then, as they enter the Swiss border, they are shot down by Clanker zeppelins, and are stranded on the ice. Deryn loses consciousness when she is thrown from the hull on impact. Alek appears from the snow, determined to help this enemy crew, and ultimately saves her from frostbite. Even though they don't often agree, Deryn is grateful that he rescued her:

    "Yes," Alek said, "a frostbitten bum would've been unfortunate." page 236

    The Leviathan is less fortunate. Without food, it will never survive and heal. Alek has the required quantity, but will he give it up? Even if he does, will the wounded air ship heal in time to escape a hungry fleet of Clankers waiting to finish them off? Find out in this incredible adventure that will forever change the way you think about history.
    But first, will you like this book? It is shrouded in conspiracy and high vocab, so I would recommend this book sixth grade and up; adults will like it,

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2011

    Recommended

    This book keep me reading and on the edge of my seat. There were a few dual moments but they were picked back up by guessing on what was going to happen next and ongoing suspense. The setting is kept mostly in Switzerland when our two main characters collide and it makes for quite the situation. The book is overall a great read and is good for anyone that likes to get away from reality for awhile.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Leviathan

    Title: Leviathan
    Author: Scott Westerfeld
    Genre: YA Steampunk alternate history
    Publishing Information: 440 pages; September 22nd, 2009 by Simon Pulse
    Series: Leviathan #1, followed by Behemoth and Goliath

    Where I got it: Borders liquidation sale

    One sentence: In this alternative history of World War I, the lives of Prince Aleksander of Austria-Hungary, on the run from his own country, and Deryn Sharp, a common girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service, become intertwined.

    Themes: Alternate history, World War I, steampunk, girl in disguise, illustrated, war

    Main characters: 3.5/5
    I wasn't sure about the characters at first. While I know they are young, these protagonists came off slightly immature. However, as the novel progressed, both matured into their changing circumstances and developed into likeable characters. How refreshing too that there was no hint of romance during the first book! And I absolutely adored Deryn and Aleksander's first meeting. Both characters had clear and unique voices that rang clear in the alternating point of views.

    Secondary characters: 2/5
    Unfortunately, none of the secondary characters really jumped out at me. The crew members aboard the Leviathan seemed to jumble together, and Aleksander's supporters were the same. The only secondary character who intrigued me was Dr. Barrow, whose mysterious ways and aims fascinated me and made me inordinately curious: how did she come about her companion? How did she get the items she brought upon Leviathan?

    Writing style: 3.5/5
    I LOVE pictures in books. Isn't it nice when you're in the middle of a big block of words and bam! there's a random picture? That's how I felt about the illustrations in Leviathan- right when I was confused what this massive airship looked like, or how these Stormwalkers worked, I turned the page and there was a picture. The only thing was I didn't feel like the cute pictures matched the slightly more intense writing and plot. Westerfeld was adept at switching the focus from Deryn to Aleksander and back again while keeping the plot moving, however, I did feel that most of the book was exposition and I wished that it accelerated more quickly.

    Plot: 4/5
    This is the first alternate history and first steam-punk I think I've ever read. I wasn't sure about the genre until I actually sat down and read it: I was blown away! I absolutely adore history, so the different take on World War I was fascinating, particularly the conflict between the British Darwinists, who create fabricated beasts, and the German Clankers, who attack with steam-powered war machines. I loved the combination of this alternate history with the 'steampunk' aspect. Further, the plot itself was entertaining and full of action, although slightly predictable.

    Ending: 2/5
    Hmmmph. Another series book that ends with more questions than it begins with, and with none of the conflict solved.

    Best scene: Deryn's first experience with the British Air Service.

    Positives: Realistic and unique main characters, writing style, fascinating plot

    Negatives: Slow introduction, slightly more childish than I would have liked, boring secondary characters

    First Line: The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised.

    Cover: I wasn't a fan. It doesn't look like the kind of thing I would normally read and it didn't draw me in.

    Verdict: The premise was intriguing, and although there were a fe

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Liked the Book

    I would recommend this book. It's an excellent adventure that rewrites history a little bit. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the repetitive vocabulary of one character was excessive. Other than that irritant, it was very good!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I absolutely loved this book

    I have to say, when my sister gave me this book to read,I wasn't that interested, as I had been reading rapture of The Deep, which I loved, but I have to say, if I had known this book was so good, I would have dropped Rapture and dived into Leviathan. Sometimes books have cheesy cover artwork to attract readers, and at first I thought Leviathan was another one of these books. I was dead wrong. Westerfeld is awsome. Bow down, bow down.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Give it a go

    When I first read this book I was 16, and shocked to find drawn pictures and images throughout the book. In all honesty, that's what makes this sush a interesting, detail-enriched book. Those images help you better understand and grasp the world the author has created. Seriously, try it out. You won't find another book like it!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    WARNING FOR ADVANCED READERS ONLY

    This was a very good book. The plot and characters are truly creative and original. I love how the two characters lives intertwine in the end.But beware this is a very advanced book. It has alot of " big words " and you need to pay attention to whos story line you are on. But otherwise it is an amazing book and i hignly recommend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Stipid heh

    Great terrible awesomely retarded book that i have never but always have read

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    My first taste of steampunk and I think I like it!

    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is a great adventure into an alternate history. It’s pre-World War I but Europe is taking sides between robotic fighting machines and Frankenstein-esque animal creations. Darwinists are genetically crossing various creatures that are supposed to be better than machines because they can heal and need food rather than fuel. The Clankers create robotic-like machines of various sizes, shapes and abilities. They believe the machines are better because metal is stronger than skin.

    Westerfeld has created a great alternate reality. He does an amazing job of describing machines and creatures that don’t exist but makes the reader wonder—could they?

    I’ve always been a sci-fi fan and so far I’m really enjoying this new sub-genre steampunk.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

    The year is 1914 and Europe is preparing for war. Although the events leading to a world war are sudden, the lines have long been drawn between the Clanker and Darwinist nations. While Austria-Hungary and Germany put their faith in steam-driven iron machines and guns, the British Darwinists fabricate monstrous beasties as their weapons and ships.

    At the center of the conflict is Alexsandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and son of the ill-fated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With the death of assassination of his parents, Alek's title is worthless; his own country ready to betray him. Only a battle-worn Stormwalker and a loyal crew stand between Alek and a fate similar to his parents as the young prince goes into hiding.

    Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp is a girl hiding a monstrous secret to join the British Air Service. Disguised as boy, Deryn can hold her own as an airman. But the risk of discovery is as constant as the danger of battler as her airship flies nearer to battle.

    Born in two different worlds, from different sides of the same war, everything will change when Alek and Deryn finally meet in Leviathan (2009) by Scott Westerfeld with illustrations by Keith Thompson. Until then, the only question is: Do you oil your war machines? Or do you feed them?

    Leviathan is the first book in Westerfeld's new series (a projected trilogy, I'm almost certain). It is nothing like his vastly popular Uglies series or anything else he has written. The first thing readers need to know about this book is that it does not fit into the traditional science fiction niche that so comfortably houses Uglies (and Peeps). Instead, Leviathan is a steampunk* novel.

    Instead of looking to the future as science fiction often does steampunk looks to the past creating an alternate history where it was not the modern era but the Victorian era who made all of the great technological advances. Instead of the technology we have today, steampunk suggests a world running on clockwork mechanisms, brass and steel, and in the case of Leviathan genetic engineering that we can still only imagine.

    That is the world that Alek and Deryn inhabit--a world changing before their eyes as World War One begins in Europe. Westerfeld weaves the two teenagers' stories together to create a seamless picture of both the Clanker and Darwinist lifestyle. Their two paths also converge as both characters realize that their futures lie far from their European homes.

    Leviathan might be the book I was most excited to read in 2009. It was also one of the best. As usual, Westerfeld's writing is pitch-perfect blending science, action, and brilliant characters to create a book made of pure magic. It hardly seemedpossible, but for me this book has far surpassed all of Westerfeld's previous (awesome) books.

    Keith Thompson's brilliant illustrations set the mood for the story and bring the world of the Clankers and Darwinists to life in intricate line drawings**. The American/Canadian and Australian editions of Leviathan also feature full color endpapers with an allegorical map of Europe as drawn by Thompson*** that only adds to the book's charm.

    The series will continue with Behemoth.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Not very christian

    To much enphesis on evolution
    Stick to the truth: creation

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Must read!

    This trilogy was absolutely amazing. I finished all three books in less than four days. I would highly recommend it to everybody. There's romance, secrets, adventure and more!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    EPIC

    I just picked up this book because I liked the cover art and after reading the inside of the jacket I decided it sounded like a good read. I'm extremely glad I got this book. It has an epic story and I love the science fiction spin on WW1. The characters in this book are awesome and he really keeps the story line moving. It isn't hard to read. I read the whole thing in probably about five hours or so. I'd definitely suggest this book to anyone looking for a great book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Thrilling

    Only on the 11 th page and im all ready loving it! Great book so far. Glad my teacher made me read it for lit circles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Lets chat

    Plzzzzzzzzzz

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    It was ok.

    It was entertaining. It wasn't horrible but the ending kind of petered out. It was definitely steampunk. Which was cool but i've read better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Taylor Swift

    I have to amit, i wasnt that excited to read this book. But i gave it a chance and it was really good, i was suprised. It has true facts and makebelieve. I wasnt able to put it down over half the time and i would DEFINETLY recomend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Hey

    I loved this book although confusing at parts a very good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Aww yeah.

    Who else thinks that the fourth should be called pipsqueak?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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