Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
“Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.“
In this brilliant series the past is mixed with all the possibilities from the future. It is 1914 and the Great War has just begun, the assassination of the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary has sparked conflict around the world. Alek, son of the murdered archduke, though not an eligible heir, finds himself the target of Germany’s war ships. Together with four of his father’s men, Alek makes his run for safety in a Cyklop Stormwalker, a huge armored machine that walks on two legs.
In Britain, Deryn Sharp begins her journey as a midshipman in the air force disguised as a boy, as only men are allowed to join. During her entrance test, however, adventure leads her to join up with the Leviathan, one of the greatest airships in the Darwinist Empire. Based on the life threads of a whale, with many others mixed in, the Leviathan is one of the first creatures created by the Darwinists, taking the DNA of one organism and mixing it with others to create a new creature.
No one should miss this exciting and creative adventure, perfect for middle grade to young adult readers (though it is a favourite of many adults). The images that are scattered throughout the book are just amazing and a real highlight.
Book two, Behemoth, gives readers another epic adventure.
“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.”
“Alek and Deryn are abroad the Leviathan when the ship is ordered to pick up an unusual passenger. This brilliant/maniacal inventor claims to have a weapon called Goliath that can end the war. But whose side is he really on?”
This series is steampunk at its very best. A great book I would love to read aloud to my grade 6-8s and enjoy the beautiful images together. I loved this series.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: History. WWI. Genetics and Darwin. Military. Women’s roles.
Age guide: Age 11 and up.
Published: 2009 – 2011 by Simon Schuster.
Available formats: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook.