It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their 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.
About the Author
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 bestseller Afterworlds, the worldwide 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.
Read an Excerpt
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.
By the time they reached the stables, Alek’s only concern was tripping in the darkness. The moon was less than half full, and the estate’s hunting forests stretched like a black sea across the valley. At this hour even the lights of Prague had died out to a mere inkling.
When Alek saw the walker, a soft cry escaped his lips.
It stood taller than the stable’s roof, its two metal feet sunk deep into the soil of the riding paddock. It looked like one of the Darwinist monsters skulking in the darkness.
This wasn’t some training machine—it was a real engine of war, a Cyklop Stormwalker. A cannon was mounted in its belly, and the stubby noses of two Spandau machine guns sprouted from its head, which was as big as a smokehouse.
Before tonight Alek had piloted only unarmed runabouts and four-legged training corvettes. Even with his sixteenth birthday almost here, Mother always insisted that he was too young for war machines.
“I’m supposed to pilot that?” Alek heard his own voice break. “My old runabout wouldn’t come up to its knee!”
Otto Klopp’s gloved hand patted his shoulder heavily. “Don’t worry, young Mozart. I’ll be at your side.”
Count Volger called up to the machine, and its engines rumbled to life, the ground trembling under Alek’s feet. Moonlight shivered from the wet leaves in the camouflage nets draped over the Stormwalker, and the mutter of nervous horses came from the stable.
The belly hatch swung open and a chain ladder tumbled out, unrolling as it fell. Count Volger stilled it from swinging, then planted a boot on the lowermost metal rung to hold it steady.
“Young master, if you please.”
Alek stared up at the machine. He tried to imagine guiding this monster through the darkness, crushing trees, buildings, and anything else unlucky enough to be in his path.
Otto Klopp leaned closer. “Your father the archduke has thrown us a challenge, me and you. He wants you ready to pilot any machine in the House Guard, even in the middle of the night.”
Alek swallowed. Father always said that, with war on the horizon, everyone in the household had to be prepared. And it made sense to begin training while Mother was away. If Alek crashed the walker, the worst bruises might fade before the princess Sophie returned.
But Alek still hesitated. The belly hatch of the rumbling machine looked like the jaws of some giant predator bending down to take a bite.
“Of course, we cannot force you, Your Serene Highness,” Count Volger said, amusement in his voice. “We can always explain to your father that you were too scared.”
“I’m not scared.” Alek grabbed the ladder and hoisted himself up. The sawtooth rungs gripped his gloves as Alek climbed past the anti-boarding spikes arrayed along the walker’s belly. He crawled into the machine’s dark maw, the smell of kerosene and sweat filling his nose, the engines’ rhythm trembling in his bones.
“Welcome aboard, Your Highness,” a voice said. Two men waited in the gunners’ cabin, steel helmets glittering. A Stormwalker carried a crew of five, Alek recalled. This wasn’t some little three-man runabout. He almost forgot to return their salutes.
Count Volger was close behind him on the ladder, so Alek kept climbing up into the command cabin. He took the pilot’s seat, strapping himself in as Klopp and Volger followed.
He placed his hands on the saunters, feeling the machine’s awesome power trembling in his fingers. Strange to think that these two small levers could control the walker’s huge metal legs.
“Vision at full,” Klopp said, cranking the viewport open as wide as it would go. The cool night air spilled into the Stormwalker’s cabin, and moonlight fell across dozens of switches and levers.
The four-legged corvette he’d piloted the month before had needed only control saunters, a fuel gauge, and a compass. But now uncountable needles were arrayed before him, shivering like nervous whiskers.
What were they all for?
He pulled his eyes from the controls and stared through the viewport. The distance to the ground gave him a queasy feeling, like peering down from a hayloft with thoughts of jumping.
The edge of the forest loomed only twenty meters away. Did they really expect him to pilot this machine through those dense trees and tangled roots … at night?
“At your pleasure, young master,” Count Volger said, sounding bored already.
Alek set his jaw, resolving not to provide the man with any more amusement. He eased the saunters forward, and the huge Daimler engines changed pitch as steel gears bit, grinding into motion.
The Stormwalker rose from its crouch slowly, the ground slipping still farther away. Alek could see across the treetops now, all the way to shimmering Prague.
He pulled the left saunter back and pushed the right forward. The machine lumbered into motion with an inhumanly large step, pressing him back into the pilot’s seat.
The right pedal rose a little as the walker’s foot hit soft ground, nudging Alek’s boot. He twisted at the saunters, transferring weight from one foot to the other. The cabin swayed like a tree house in a high wind, lurching back and forth with each giant step. A chorus of hissing came from the engines below, gauges dancing as the Stormwalker’s pneumatic joints strained against the machine’s weight.
“Good … excellent,” Otto muttered from the commander’s seat. “Watch your knee pressure, though.”
Alek dared a glance down at the controls, but had no idea what Master Klopp was talking about. Knee pressure? How could anyone keep track of all those needles without driving the whole contraption into a tree?
“Better,” the man said a few steps later. Alek nodded dumbly, overjoyed that he hadn’t tipped them over yet.
Already the forest was looming up, filling the wide-open viewport with a dark tangle of shapes. The first glistening branches swept past, thwacking at the viewport, spattering Alek with cold showers of dew.
“Shouldn’t we spark up the running lights?” he asked.
Klopp shook his head. “Remember, young master? We’re pretending we don’t want to be spotted.”
“Revolting way to travel,” Volger muttered, and Alek wondered again why the man was here. Was there to be a fencing lesson after this? What sort of warrior-Mozart was his father trying to make him into?
The shriek of grinding gears filled the cabin. The left pedal snapped up against Alek’s foot, and the whole machine tipped ominously forward.
“You’re caught, young master!” Otto said, hands ready to snatch the saunters away.
“I know!” Alek cried, twisting at the controls. He slammed the machine’s right foot down midstride, its knee joint spitting air like a train whistle. The Stormwalker wavered drunkenly for a moment, threatening to fall. But long seconds later Alek felt the machine’s weight settle into the moss and dirt. It was balanced with one foot stretching back, like a fencer posing after a lunge.
He pushed on both saunters, the left leg pulling at whatever had entangled it, the right straining forward. The Daimler engines groaned, and metal joints hissed. Finally a shudder passed through the cabin, along with the satisfying sound of roots tearing from the ground— the Stormwalker rising up. It stood high for a moment, like a chicken on one leg, then stepped forward again.
Alek’s shaking hands guided the walker through its next few strides.
“Well done, young master!” Otto cried. He clapped his hands once.
“Thank you, Klopp,” Alek said in a dry voice, feeling sweat trickle down his face. His hands clenched the saunters tight, but the machine was walking smoothly again.
Gradually he forgot that he was at the controls, feeling the steps as if they were his own. The sway of the cabin settled into his body, the rhythms of gears and pneumatics not so different from his runabout’s, only louder. Alek had even begun to see patterns in the flickering needles of the control panel—a few leapt into the red with every footfall, easing back as the walker straightened. Knee pressure, indeed.
But the sheer power of the machine kept him anxious. Heat from the engines built in the cabin, the night air blowing in like cold fingers. Alek tried to imagine what piloting would be like in battle, with the viewport half shut against flying bullets and shrapnel.
Finally the pine branches cleared before them, and Klopp said, “Turn here and we’ll have better footing, young master.”
“Isn’t this one of Mother’s riding paths?” Alek said. “She’ll have my hide if we track it up!” Whenever one of Princess Sophie’s horses stumbled on a walker footprint, Master Klopp, Alek, and even Father felt her wrath for days.
But he eased back on the throttle, grateful for a moment of rest, bringing the Stormwalker to a halt on the trail. Inside his piloting jacket Alek was soaked with sweat.
“Disagreeable in every way, Your Highness,” Volger said. “But necessary if we’re to make good time tonight.”
Alek turned to Otto Klopp and frowned. “Make good time? But this is just practice. We’re not going anywhere, are we?”
Klopp didn’t answer, his eyes glancing up at the count. Alek pulled his hands from the saunters and swiveled the pilot’s chair around.
“Volger, what’s going on?”
The wildcount stared down at him in silence, and Alek felt suddenly very alone out here in the darkness.
His mind began to replay his father’s warnings: How some nobles believed that Alek’s muddled lineage threatened the empire. That one day the insults might turn into something worse… .
But these men couldn’t be traitors. Volger had held a sword to his throat a thousand times in fencing practice, and his master of mechaniks? Unthinkable.
“Where are we going, Otto? Explain this at once.”
“You’re to come with us, Your Highness,” Otto Klopp said softly.
“We have to get as far away from Prague as possible,” Volger said. “Your father’s orders.”
“But my father isn’t even …” Alek gritted his teeth and swore. What a fool he’d been, tempted into the forest with tales of midnight piloting, like luring a child with candy. The whole household was asleep, his parents away in Sarajevo.
Alek’s arms were still tired from fighting to keep the Stormwalker upright, and strapped into the pilot’s chair he could hardly draw his knife. He closed his eyes—he’d left the weapon back in his room, under the pillow.
“The archduke left instructions,” Count Volger said.
“You’re lying!” Alek shouted.
“I wish we were, young master.” Volger reached into his riding jacket.
A surge of panic swept into Alek, cutting through his despair. His hands shot to the unfamiliar controls, searching for the distress whistle’s cord. They couldn’t be far from home yet. Surely someone would hear the Stormwalker’s shriek.
Otto jumped into motion, grabbing Alek’s arms. Volger swept a flask from his jacket and forced its open mouth to Alek’s face. A sweet smell filled the cabin, sending his mind spinning. He tried not to breathe, struggling against the larger men.
Then his fingers found the distress cord and pulled—
But Master Klopp’s hands were already at the controls, spilling the Stormwalker’s pneumatic pressure. The whistle let out only a miserable descending wail, like a teakettle pulled from the fire.
Alek still struggled, holding his breath for what felt like minutes, but finally his lungs rebelled. He scooped in a ragged breath, the sharp scent of chemicals filling his head …
A cascade of bright spots fell across the instruments, and a weight seemed to lift from Alek’s shoulders. He felt as though he were floating free of the men’s grasp, free of the seat straps—free of gravity, even.
“My father will have your heads,” he managed to croak.
“Alas not, Your Highness,” Count Volger said. “Your parents are both dead, murdered this night in Sarajevo.”
Alek tried to laugh at this absurd statement, but the world twisted sideways under him, darkness and silence crashing down.
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to The Leviathan Trilogy By Scott Westerfeld About the Trilogy It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. In this striking, futuristic rendition of an alternate past where machines are pitted against genetically modified beasts, Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides in the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, and together they embark on an around-the-world adventure, one that will change both their lives forever. In addition to the three novels, there is The Manual of Aeronautics, a lavishly illustrated, full-color companion. The Manual of Aeronautics is a guide to the inner workings of the Darwinist and Clanker powers. Loaded with detailed descriptions and elaborate illustrations of Darwinist beasties and Clanker walkers, weapons, transport, and uniforms, this manual highlights the international powers that Deryn and Alek encounter throughout their around-the-world adventures. This guide draws back the curtain and reveals the inner depths of Westerfeld’s fascinating alternative world. Book 1: Leviathan About the Novel 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 battle-torn 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’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected ways, taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever. Prereading Activities 1. The Leviathan trilogy is an example of steampunk. Some students may be unfamiliar with steampunk, or they may have read stories or seen films that fit the category but do not realize it. Here is a brief description: Steampunk is a literary genre or sub-genre of science fiction that features steam-powered machinery inspired by the industrialized Western civilization during the nineteenth century. Such machinery may be fictional like those found in this series by Scott Westerfeld, or in the works of H. G. Wells. See http://www.steampunk.com/what-is-steampunk/ and http://steampunkscholar.blogspot.com/ for further background information and to learn more about Steampunk. Some terms cited in the story will likely be unfamiliar to most readers. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic research sources to find out as much information as they can about the following: boffin, bulbous, emissary, fortnight, iridescent, Luddite, propaganda, skulduggery, solidarity, sustenance, translucent, and tremulous. 2. Have students work in small groups to research and present a multimedia presentation on the causes of World War I. Discussion Questions 1. What is Alek doing at the opening of the story that foreshadows events to come? 2. Why does Alek sleep with a knife under his pillow? 3. What kind of relationship does Alek have with Count Volger and Otto Klopp? 4. What was Alek warned of by his father? 5. What shocking news does Count Volger share with Alek? 6. What is Deryn Sharp’s “mad scheme”? 7. Why are Monkey Luddites afraid of Darwinist beasties? 8. What is unique about the Huxley ascender? 9. Why does Alek refuse to believe his parents are dead? How does Count Volger convince him? 10. What kind of airship is the Leviathan? Why was it fabricated? 11. Why does Count Volger tell Alek he matters more than anyone he knows? How did Alek’s father prepare for the coming war? 12. Why does Alek resent the way Count Volger treats him? 13. What does Alek come to appreciate about his men? 14. What is Alek’s inheritance? 15. How does Deryn convince the Leviathan’s officers to make her a temporary middy on the ship? 16. What does Deryn enjoy most about the bosun’s lectures? 17. Why do fabrications make Midshipman Newkirk nervous? 18. How does Deryn feel about Newkirk’s war talk? 19. Why does Alek doubt the headlines he sees in the newspapers about Europe’s solidarity against Serbia? 20. Who does the Leviathan take aboard as a passenger, and what is its destination? 21. What does it mean that the Leviathan is “aerostatic”? 22. Why is Deryn sent to meet Dr. Barlow? 23. What is Dr. Barlow’s unusual traveling companion? 24. What is Deryn concerned that Dr. Barlow might do? 25. What prevents Alek and the Stormwalker from reaching Switzerland? 26. What does Alek do with his saber? 27. What role do bees have on the Leviathan? 28. Where does Count Volger take Alek? 29. What secrets does Count Volger reveal to Alek at the castle? 30. What is Alek’s reaction to the sight of the Leviathan? 31. What awful stories had Alek heard about Darwinist creations? 32. Under what circumstances do Alek and Deryn meet? 33. Why does Alek say it was “madness to try to cross the gulf between his world and theirs”? 34. How does Alek react when he discovers he is inside an animal? What do Dr. Barlow and Dylan think of his reaction? 35. How is hydrogen for the Leviathan produced? 36. Why is Alek surprised about the Leviathan heading for the Ottoman Empire? Postreading Activities 1. Have students work in small groups to research the following references in the novel and share their findings with the rest of the class: Balkan Wars, battles of Nelson, Charles Darwin, DNA, theories of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Aldous Huxley, Maxim gun, thylacine, and Zeppelins. 2. Look at the map of Europe by Keith Thompson and discuss its symbolism. 3. Create a chronology of events from the story. 4. List what animals are mentioned in the novel and describe their role and/or impact in the story. 5. Compose an acrostic poem describing Darwinist or Clanker. 6. Create a crossword or word search puzzle based on animals, beasties, characters, events, and machines in the novel. See http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker/ and http://www.crosswordpuzzlegames.com/. 7. Illustrate a favorite incident or scene from the novel. 8. Retell a favorite episode from the novel in your own words. 9. Create a WANTED poster for Alek. 10. Design a map of Deryn’s and Alek’s respective journeys with captions and images highlighting important events. 11. Identify three problems in the story and explain how they are resolved. 12. Write a “How to” guide for an activity depicted in the story, such as running in a Walker or riding safely in a Huxley. 13. If you included yourself in the story, who would you be? Why? 14. Create thumbnail sketches of characters from Leviathan, including both physical and character traits. Label the character traits you attribute by citing dialogue or events from the story. 15. Write a brief essay in which you explain the differences between Clanker and Darwinist societies. Book 2: Behemoth About the Novel The Behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers. Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory. Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what’s ahead. Prereading Activities 1. Some terms cited in the story will likely be unfamiliar to most readers. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic research sources to find out as much information as they can about the following: amenable, automaton, colonnade, conspicuous, countenance, halberd, imperious, impertinence, improvisation, keelhaul, luminous, maelstrom, malady, nascent, parley, perspicacious, primordial, scimitar, sinuous, surreptitious, translucent, tumult, undulating, vitriolic, voluminous, and wan. 2. Have students work in small groups to research and present a multimedia presentation on the major conflicts that occurred in one of the World War I theaters of engagement: Africa, Middle East, Eastern Front, Pacific, and Western Front. Students should cite all sources consulted. Discussion Questions 1. What does Deryn observe about Alek when they are fencing? 2. Why does Deryn think it is unfair to think of Alek as an enemy? 3. Why does Alek have reservations about joining in the attack on the ironclads? 4. What are the fléchette bats? 5. In what way is the Leviathan an ecosystem? 6. What new weapon does Klopp see the ironclad armed with? What can the weapon do? 7. What is the “diplomatic ruckus” that the Leviathan is sent to Constantinople to sort out? 8. What bad news does Captain Hobbes share with Alek? How do Alek and Volger respond to the news? 9. What is Deryn’s impression of Constantinople? 10. According to Dr. Barlow, how are the Ottomans different from other Clankers? 11. In what way are Americans an “odd bunch”? 12. What is “the biggest story in Istanbul”? 13. What does Alek see hatch in the machine room? How is his reaction to it different from other Darwinist creatures? 14. What is Dr. Barlow’s explanation of a behemoth? 15. What prompts Dr. Barlow to gasp in horror in the sultan’s throne room? 16. What offer does Dr. Barlow make to the sultan that shocks Deryn? 17. Why does Alek decide to talk to Malone? 18. Who is Zaven and what group is he a part of? 19. What is important about the Dardanelles Strait? 20. Why does Deryn feel like more of a spy than a soldier? 21. In what way is the Orient Express “a strange crossbreed of Ottoman and German design”? 22. Why is Deryn suspicious of Bovril? 23. Why does Dylan disagree with Alek’s idea of telling the Committee of the new developments? 24. What is Lilit’s plan to destroy the Tesla cannon? 25. Why does Deryn find it “hardest of all . . . being so close to Alek, while still hiding from him”? 26. What does Volger’s news of the pope’s death mean for Alek’s plans? Postreading Activities 1. Have students work in small groups to research the following references in the novel and share their findings with the rest of the class: Winston Churchill, Constantinople, Dardanelles, Gallipoli Campaign, Gibraltar, Guy Fawkes Day, Orient Express, Ottoman Empire, Suez Canal, Nikola Tesla, Young Turks. Students should cite all sources consulted. 2. Look at the map by Keith Thompson and discuss its symbolism. How do the images reflect events in the story? 3. Create a chronology of events from the story. 4. Have students use atlases or globes to locate the places where events in the story occur. 5. Illustrate a favorite incident or scene from the novel. 6. Retell a favorite episode from the novel in your own words. 7. Design a front-page newspaper story chronicling one of the major events in this novel. 8. Write a letter as if you were Deryn to her brother describing some of her adventures. 9. Write a couple of paragraphs in which you predict what will happen in the next novel concluding the trilogy, Goliath. Book 3: Goliath About the Novel Alek and Deryn are 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. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war and crown. Falling in love would be much easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl, and if they weren’t technically enemies. The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board. Secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is as it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy. Prereading Activities 1. Some terms cited in the story will likely be unfamiliar to most readers. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic research sources to find out as much information as they can about the following: apparatus, ballast, capacitor, disreputable, epaulettes, ferrous, Herculean, inundation, mayhem, phantasmal, precarious, presumptuous, sextant, subterfuge, torrent, truncheon, and yackum. 2. Have students work in small groups to research and present a multimedia presentation on the outcomes of World War I. Students should cite all sources consulted. Discussion Questions 1. Why do the Leviathan’s officers still see Alek and his men as little better than prisoners? Why does he feel like “deadweight”? 2. Why does the appearance of the imperial message eagle give Alek a feeling of hope? 3. What is Alek’s reaction to the sight of the eagle? 4. Why does Alek wish he had stayed in Istanbul? 5. What does the two-headed eagle symbolize? 6. Why does Deryn not want Count Volger to reveal her secret to Alek? 7. Why is the Leviathan heading for Tsingtao? 8. What more is there to the lorises than meets the eye? 9. Who does Deryn discover in the fallen forest? 10. What does Tesla reveal to Deryn about the wrecked airship? How does Deryn react to what he says? 11. Is Tesla able to repulse the bears? 12. What are some things Tesla invented? Why is it significant that he is a Serb? 13. What kind of weapon is Goliath? 14. What is the mysterious object Deryn discovers? Why is it important to Tesla’s invention? 15. What is Alek’s reaction to finding out Deryn is a girl? What does he finally realize about her? 16. How does Alek react to Tesla’s confidence that his weapon will stop the war? 17. How is the United States, as “another half-Darwinist, half-Clanker country,” different from Japan? 18. Why does Deryn think it wasn’t fair of her to kiss Alek? 19. What is Mr. Hearst’s treachery? 20. How does Alek help Deryn keep her secret? 21. Why does Alek choose not to say anything about Deryn to Eddie Malone? 22. What does Lilit reveal to Deryn about the Ottoman Republic? 23. Why was it planned that the last water-walker should be destroyed only after making landfall? 24. How does Alek stop Tesla from firing Goliath? 25. How is Tesla proved to be a fraud? How does his death help shorten the war? 26. Why do you think Alek renounces his claim to the throne and takes a position with The London Zoological Society? Postreading Activities 1. Have students work in small groups to research the following references in the novel and share their findings with the rest of the class: Divine Right, Empire of Japan, William Randolph Hearst, Emperor Maximilian, Kokichi Mikimoto, The Perils of Pauline, Commodore Perry, Pinkertons, Joseph Pulitzer, Russo-Japanese War, Siberia, Sakichi Toyoda, Tsingtao, Tunguska, Pancho Villa, Vladivostok, Woodrow Wilson, and U-boat. Students should cite all sources consulted. 2. Look at the map by Keith Thompson and discuss its symbolism. How do the images relate to events in the story? 3. Create a chronology of events from the story. 4. Illustrate a favorite incident or scene from the novel. 5. Retell a favorite episode from the novel in your own words. 6. The First World War is known for the first use of barbed wire and many new weapons, including airplanes, dirigibles, long range artillery, flamethrowers, grenades, machine guns, poison gas, submarines, and tanks. In pairs or small groups, use online and print resources to research and report who invented these weapons, how they were developed, and how they were used in World War I. Identify examples of how these weapons are incorporated into the Darwinist beasties and Clanker machines in the Leviathan novels and The Manual of Aeronautics. 7. Create a model of one of the Clanker’s machine monsters. Use The Manual of Aeronautics as a reference guide. 8. Design your own Darwinist beastie or Clanker machine that can be included in The Manual of Aeronautics. 9. Have each student communicate a brief message to be deciphered by the class using the Huxley Semaphore as referenced in The Manual of Aeronautics. 10. Write an alternate ending to the novel or a chapter that continues the story. 11. Create a sale advertisement for one of the Clanker machines. Use The Manual of Aeronautics as a reference. 12. Create a board game based upon the Leviathan books. Look at the games Axis & Allies, Diplomacy, and Risk as models for your own game. About the Author 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. About the Illustrator Keith Thompson’s work has appeared in books, magazines, TV, video games, and films. See his work at KeithThompsonArt.com. Recommended Web Sites The Art of Leviathan, Part I: An Interview with Scott Westerfeld http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/10/the-art-of-leviathan-a-conversation-with-scott-westerfeld-and-kieth-thompson The Art of Leviathan, Part II: An Interview with Keith Thompson http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/10/the-art-of-levathan-prt-two-interview-with-keith-thompson Leviathan Wiki http://leviathanscottwesterfeld.wikia.com/wiki/Leviathan_Wiki Keith Thompson Art http://www.keiththompsonart.com/ Scott Westerfeld http://scottwesterfeld.com/ Suggested Further Reading on World War I Fiction Lawrence, Iain. Lord of the Nutcracker Men. Delacorte, 2001. Morpurgo, Michael. Private Peaceful. Scholastic, 2004. Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. Little, Brown, 1929. Slade, Arthur.Megiddo's Shadow. Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2006. Spillebeen, Geert. Kipling's Choice. Trans. Terese Edelstein. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Spillebeen, Geert. Age 14. Trans. Terese Edelstein. Houghton Mifflin, 2009. Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. J. B. Lippincott, 1939. Nonfiction Adams, Simon. World War I (Eyewitness Books). DK, 2007. Batten, Jack. The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I. Tundra, 2009 Brocklehurst, Ruth. Usborne Introduction to the First World War. Usborne, 2007. Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars: World War I. Clarion, Granfield, Linda. In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae. Illus. Janet Wilson. Doubleday, 1996. v Granfield, Linda. Where Poppies Grow: A World War I Companion. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2001. Murphy, Jim. Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. Scholastic, 2009. Myers, Walter Dean and Bill Miles. The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage. Amistad/Harper Collins, 2005. This guide was written by Edward T. Sullivan, a librarian and writer. This guide, written to align with the Common Core State Standards (www.corestandards.org) has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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,
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
I loved this book although confusing at parts a very good read!
This book was one of my first ventures into literature-based steampunk, and all I can say is that I'm HOOKED. Considering the unique storyline, the original characters, and the interesting and engaging language Westerfield created for his world, it was definitely a fantastic choice for the leap of faith I took in buying it. I bonded to Alek and Deryn straightaway, and after I finished the book, I thought, "Oh, it was pretty cool," and rhen, laying in bed that night, I realized that I was literally craving the story - so I'm about to go back and reread it! An excellent choice for any adventure fan.
It was a really good book. I had a hard time putting the book down. Everything seemed well balanced from the characters to the description of the mechanical fighting machines to the Darwnist genetically altered fighting transports. If you like science fiction mixed with a Victorian background with a adventure that young and adult will enjoy then this is the book for you. I will be re-reading it again until I the sequel comes out.
This is by far the best series that I have ever read. I wish that other authors would write books this interesting and well thought through more often.
Is it any good? I clicked on it because I thought of Supernatural(Team CROWLEY)
A tale of adventure, Leviathan is one of those books with which I could sit back and relax. Set in an alternate 1914, the First World War is about to be fought between the Darwinist countries with their genetically altered war beasts, and the Clankers with their advanced war machines. Caught up in this are prince Aleksander, son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek, and a young soldier, Deryn aka Dylan Sharp. At first I thought Leviathan to be just another elaborate science fiction adventure, but by the middle of the book the characters and animals had grown on me to the extent that I didn't want the book to end. Hence, it was these brilliantly crafted characters and the excellent world building that truly kept me riveted to my chair. Deryn Sharp, posing as a boy, does justice to her surname. She is sharp, witty, brave and truly cute in an enchantingly innocent way. Alek, on the other hand, is more serious and must make multiple adjustments when his life changes from that of a prince to that of a fugitive. His protectors, count Volger and Otto Klopp, are characters whom I wish I knew in real life; they are that well crafted and realistic. Despite their status as soldier and prince, both main characters still have a youthful innocence and playfulness in them. This is wonderfully refreshing as so many young adult authors tend to make their characters too serious and adult for their fictional age. Add to this interesting mix of personalities the inventive, slightly mysterious Dr. Barlow and her pet Thylacen, Tazza, and the cast of characters in this book becomes quite unforgettable. The author does magnificent world building in this book. On the Darwinist side and therefore Deryn's world, we get to meet wolf/tiger crossbreds called tigeresques, and message-carrying lizards and parrots that get their messages mixed up. On the fighting front there are bats that eat darts so that they can shoot hostile airplanes with them, and strafing hawks that catch planes in nets. The main focus of this book, however, is the flying beasties, as Deryn calls them, with their life support system of numerous accompanying animals. On the Clanker side, war machines like the two-legged stormwalker and the multiple legged dreadnoughts and frigates, as well as airplanes and airships, threaten the lives of the Darwinist beasts. Leviathan is a lovely, clean book of fantasy, science fiction and adventure that I want to recommend to readers of all ages. (Ellen Fritz)
Highly enjoyable, strongly recommend
Marvels at how easy it is
Fantastic edition to this creature we call lititure.
This book, no this trilogy, is by far one of the best things I've read in a long time. The characters talk of falling in love with the air beast and I too fell in love. The characters touched my heart, Deryn's struggle to conceal her identity and become a real airman and Alek's desire and determination spoke to me in a way I have not felt since the Book Theif. The idea of the Darwinist creatures was so abstract and creative I was hooked wanting to find out more about this alternate reality. Likewise, the story line was a perfect blend of adventure, history, and a little spark of romance. I just finished Goliath maybe a week ago and I really do miss it, the whole adventure gave me a warm fuzzy feeling and everyday I couldnt wait to get home so I could read more. There really is nothing like these books for me and I highly recomend them to anyone looking for something abstract or even just a good book to sit down by the fire with. Just as with the Uglies series Scott Westerfield created a fantastic world that I was reluctant to leave.
I started reading Leviathan and fell in love right away; Introduced by my older sister who loved it too We went on to read the other two titles. We loved those too. I would say this is a fantastic trilogy for teens and young adults. (Based on who I know likes it.) Scott Westerfeld is an exceptional author, this being fine works.