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4 Feb 2014

Book Review: Leviathan by 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.

I'd heard many good reviews about Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy.  I have to admit the world he built was absolutely fascinating.  And alternative World War One history with steampunk thrown in and science advancing in it's creations of weapons and machinery that has split the world apart into Darwinists and Clankers.  Both were an interesting concept.  The Clankers were more into steampunk machinery and technology, relying on them for the war.  The Darwinists created hybrids from animals, turning them into the machines and weapons they relied onWith the addition of illustrations I had no problem visualising these strange and (in a way) futuristic designs in a period of time that is already well known to the audience.  

Unfortunately while the world was interesting I found Leviathan quite slow to get into. From the beginning I wasn't hooked with the events or the characters. With two different perspectives the pacing was slow, building up a lot of back story and the alternative world Westerfeld created. The blurb doesn't really apply until 200 pages and I was actually hanging around, plodding through their journeys until they did finally meet.  Like most books I find quite slow to begin with, the action then suddenly began in the last part as if the author realised he had to get things going and the finale began.  It ends up making the story feeling quite rushed at the end.

I liked Deryn even though she wasn't the most original character I've read about. A girl disguising to be a boy has been done over and over again. I didn't hate it but it just meant I wasn't interested in her storyline in the end.  Maybe Deryn's situation with take an interesting turn in the next two books but unfortunately it hasn't got me hooked enough to be curious and find out.

Overall, it was an okay read.  Interesting world.  Slow paced.  I'm probably going to leave it there for now and not rush to pick up the other two.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you didn't like LEVIATHAN as much as I did, Robin. Oh, well. I though the series was awesome... but I understand the feeling--if book one doesn't grab you, you're unlikely to read the next. That's happened to me with a couple of series recently (series that I know others loved). I will say that I think there's plenty of action in book 2, but I thought book 1 had a good mix of character, world-building, and action, so my opinion may not have a lot of credibility with you. :)

    A good review, nevertheless!