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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Westerfeld does it again!
I stumbled upon this series after finding and devouring his Uglies series. Levathian was an awesome book, and I loved the concept of evolved animalesques versus the mechanical technologies of the world. Scott Westerfeld has a knack at bringing so many aspects of life now into question in his novels.

While Leviathan was great at introducing us to its alternative...
Published on October 7, 2010 by Jennifer Lee

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little less engaging than the first
I liked the first book so much, I had to read the second. I'm not very good at stopping once I start a series. This one was just as much fun as the first, although I have to say I dislike cliffhangers, so the series irritates me a little. (Mostly I just dislike them because I hate waiting for the next one to come out.)

I really like the author's steampunk...
Published on August 9, 2011 by Lindsey Peterson


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Westerfeld does it again!, October 7, 2010
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This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
I stumbled upon this series after finding and devouring his Uglies series. Levathian was an awesome book, and I loved the concept of evolved animalesques versus the mechanical technologies of the world. Scott Westerfeld has a knack at bringing so many aspects of life now into question in his novels.

While Leviathan was great at introducing us to its alternative steam-punk culture, Behemoth helps develop the characters of Prince *ArchDuke* Alek and middy *MR. Sharp* Deryn. I especially enjoyed seeing Deryn growing up with new responsibilities, challenged loyalties, and blossoming love. It is also very amusing when another strong female character Lilit is added to create a convoluted yet innocent love triangle between the three main figures.

One thing I was a little disappointed in was the fact that this book was not based in the mind-blowing evolving world of the Darwinists. Reading about the complex eco-culture of the Leviathan gave me a huge thrill as to the possibilities of our own future. But I guess this is to be expected. Leviathan is devoted to the world of the Darwinists, it is only fair that Behemoth is immersed in Clanker-land, a place with its own technological wonders.

All I can say Behemoth has got me extremely excited for book three. And unfortunately Behemoth has JUST come out, so it's going to be a really long wait.

PS. did I mention this series is gorgeously illustrated? My Kindle does not do the graphics justice but even there the fantastical details are extremely alluring.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TURKISH DELIGHTS, October 8, 2010
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This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
[NO SPOILERS]

For those that have read the first book, BEHEMOTH brings the whale-airship Leviathan to a wonderful location to serve as a backdrop for the plot:

Istanbul.

Scott Westerfeld even went to Istanbul to get a feel for the city in preparation of this book. Having been to Istanbul myself, I felt he captured the essence of the city without making one feel like they're reading an over-detailed travelogue.

In a nutshell, the book deals again with Deryn/Dylan, Prince Alek and his retinue, Dr. Barlow and a few new faces, to include one that forms the third point of an interesting "Bermuda Triangle" of sorts.
Not much new is revealed about Deryn/Dylan and Alek, the two main characters, but the two draw closer in their friendship as they work together against the Clanker threats that surround them . . . and one particularly annoying journalist--American, of course.

The non-human elements are just as fascinating this time around as they were in LEVIATHAN, although this time they focus more on the Clankers as they are, after all, in enemy territory. But just to be clear, there are SOME new Darwinist creations, just not many of them.

The plot moves at a nice pace--although I'm a slow reader I finished this book in about two days and the last 200 pages I read in one sitting.

Of course, an Alternative History book like this one wouldn't be what it is without a little homage to the real history, which is briefly but sufficiently detailed in the AFTERWORD. It's truly amazing how authors can find little historical details and transform them into new magnificent stories!

Finally there is the wonderful artwork of Keith Thompson. Once again his artwork never fails to capture what is occurring on the page next to it. Reading these books is like flipping through the HOLY BIBLE or THE DIVINE COMEDY and finding the brilliant black-and-white artwork of GUSTAVE DORE gracing the pages.

As for complaints, I only have a few nitpicky ones . . .

--The hardback cover art needs to match the hardback cover for the first book.
--The binding could be of better quality--it's just glue.
--The impact of some of the artwork is diminished by the fact that the crease between the pages gets in the way.

Despite that, this is still an easy 5-star title.

It was nice to be back on board.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue in Istanbul (not Constantinople), October 5, 2010
This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
If Leviathan was setting up World War One with mechs and genetically engineered creatures, Behemoth was expanding upon the political ramifications. The book primarily centers on the political machinations between the Darwinist English and the Clanker Germans vying for the favor of the kind-of-sort-of Clanker Ottoman Turks in Istanbul. In the middle of this is Alek, son of the nobles whose assassination lit off the whole mess, and Deryn/Dylan the crossdressing girl serving on the English airship Leviathan and crushing over Alek.

I'm pretty sure that this could fall into the category of middle book syndrome for some people, but it didn't happen for me. I felt that the ending was a good spot to take a break. I also really like how the story is shifting locations from one aspect of the "war to end all wars" to another. I'm already decently familiar with the Western Front and it's nice to the see the scene shifting into more interesting and unfamiliar territory. Alek gets himself involved with some of the politicking using the time honored, traditional method of displaced nobles everywhere: revolution and rebellion.

The pace of action is pretty quick and there are quite a few new people introduced. It has a quite a bit of backroom dealing going on and the action doesn't get in the way of character development. Instead each big conflict is used to highlight an internal conflict as well, from Alek's and Deryn's differing reactions to the loss of a parent to what role each of them see themselves filling in the war. I especially want to see how Alek's suspicion that he could help end war the plays out.

The plotting was pretty good and made sense to me. Alek's decision to start taking an active role in events happening around him made him into less of a lost little princeling whose actions are dictated by his father's last wishes or Wildcount Volger. It was a nice little bit of character growth. I liked him more for it. I would even go so far as to say that Alek is changing from a lost and frightened kid into someone who could be a leader. I hope his instinct for people doesn't fail him and his ability to trust at all is a nice contrast to Volger's constant state of suspicion.

Deryn/Dylan also improved for me this time around. Rather than being slightly annoying, she managed to start having conflicts between her crushing on Alek and her sworn duty to ship and country, thus becoming more interesting. Also, the introduction of Lilit gives a splendid foil to Deryn, as Lilit is every bit as capable as she but not trying to hide her gender. I rather like Lilit's parting shot to Deryn. I thought the reactions on both sides really funny.

After this installment I eagerly await the next one all the more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Miss Kelley Is Reading: [...], October 9, 2010
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This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Behemoth picks up where Leviathan left off: Alek, son of Archduke Ferdinand and potential secret heir to the throne, and Deryn, a girl masquerading as a boy in order to join the war effort, are aboard the airship/whale Leviathan, headed for Istanbul (Constantinople). Though one is a Clanker and the other a Darwinist, the two have struck up a friendship, and as Deryn reflects early in the book: "The Germans were still hunting Alek, trying to finish the job they'd started on his parents. Someone had to be on his side. . . ". Throughout the book, which is filled with action and adventure, their friendship grows. Deryn is called upon to save her ship more than once, and Alek is forced to pick a side in the political upheaval in Istanbul. The pair have adventures both alone and together, and I, for one, can't wait for the third book.

My one reservation about Leviathan was that it was very slow to start; Behemoth has no such problem. The action starts on page one, and though there are still incredible machines and impossible creatures, there is less exposition in this book than in the first. Fans of the first book will love this sequel, and I encourage those who might not have loved Leviathan to give Behemoth a shot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behemoth - whatchYAreading.net, November 28, 2010
This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
I was so excited to read Behemoth, that when I held the ARC in my hands at Comic Con, I seriously considered running off with it. Christine had, apparently, planned out an escape route for us. Alas, I didn't get to keep the ARC (legally or otherwise) but I was able to gaze lovingly at the artwork every time we passed the Simon and Schuster booth. I love everything about these books. From the accurate historic facts, to the steampunk machines, to the crazy genetic-smooshing science (genetic-smooshing being the technical term, of course). I love the artwork, the writing, the cover (though I liked the original cover better) and, most of all, I love the writing.

Leviathan and Behemoth are the only books that I've read recently where I enjoyed the switching of point of views. It was always done smoothly and at points where the switch felt right. Scott Westerfeld always does a good job of showing you what needs to be shown from both point of views without ever repeating himself or having there be weird overlap.

The Leviathan series is, at its simplest, a steampunk retelling of World War I. Sure, Scott has taken some liberties with historic fact but the core motivations, alliances, and manipulations are still there. And the war is being told through the eyes of two young teenagers from opposite sides of the war.

What I love most about this book, and its predecessor is how it is faithful to WWI while still creating its own unique, fictional plot. The reader still gets a sense that it is a useless war, fought only so politicians could show their supremecy over one another. I also enjoy that, while there is a slight bias against the Germans, we see people from all over Europe for and against the war.

My previous review of Leviathan covers all the things that I love about Alek and Deryn, so instead I'm going to talk about a few other things.

Firstly, cross dressing. Deryn is still posing as a boy in the British Air Force, still a midshipman on the airship Leviathan. And I love all the wonderful things done with this. The number of characters that refer to her, sarcastically, as Mr. Sharp is funny and surprising. I especially loved the last one. I love how Deryn is of two minds all the time as well. She wants to continue being disguised, and she wants to reveal she is a girl. This resulted in two of my most favourite scenes in this book. The being when Deryn, confidently and wonderfully, realizes that Alek could love her if he knew. She isn't shy or self-conscience about it. She just knows. And she makes an informed, intelligent decision based on that realization and I loved her so much for it. The second scene was later on and used one of my much loved, sarcastic, Mr. Sharp's. I'm not going to say what it was for fear of spoiling it, but let's just say that Mr. Westerfeld managed to do a thousand things with one little scene and I laughed out loud. It was just perfect.

The second thing I wanted to talk about, intrigue and politics.So many different levels of it. The global level of what's going on what country wants what in the war, the personal level of Alek and his heritage, and the weird science level of...what is that creature following Alek around everywhere? And why does he even have it? He's a Clanker not a Darwinist. So many things to think about.

Everything was just so perfectly balanced. The action, the intrigue, the character moments. I was never bored or wanting something else to happen. A perfect cast of characters mixed with the perfect balance of fact and fiction.

And, and, and, and!!!!!! Reading this book totally helped me with a crossword answer one time. I LEARNED things. You can too!

So...yeah. I loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barking Magnificent!, October 17, 2010
This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
It's been a while since I read Leviathan, so it took me a bit to remember everything I needed to know about the Darwinists, the Clankers, Alek and of course Deryn Sharp. Soon I was sucked right back into the author's alternate universe full of amazing machines and fabricated beasties. Leviathan was my introduction to the Steampunk genre and I have been a devoted fan ever since. Behemoth more than lived up to my expectations! The author does a wonderful job of pacing the novel so the reader barely has time to catch their breath amongst all the action. While this novel is a little light on the character development, it is hardly noticeable. I felt like I was falling back in with old friends who were just a bit too busy to have a long conversation since they really had an entire war to stop, thank you very much.

Most of the action takes place on the ground this time instead of on the Leviathan, but that in no way decreases the fun. Deryn and Alek are in Istanbul, a place at the center of the war between the Clankers and the Darwinists and it's up to our heroes to pretty much outwit everyone in order to stop the war. There's high intrigue, daring feats and even just a bit of unlikely romance. Westerfeld's Istanbul is so richly imagined that I was able to fully visualize all of it's exotic peoples and machines. The illustrations by Keith Thompson are wonderful and really add to the reading experience.

This is an exciting read that effectively carries on the story which began in Leviathan. The good news is that there's plenty of room left at the end of this one for another installment. The bad news is we have to wait so long to read it. This is a great series with loads of appeal for any kid grade 7 and up, especially fans of action/adventure and sci-fi. Adults will find much to enjoy here too, so don't pass this one by! Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than the First, October 16, 2010
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This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Usually middle books in a trilogy are just getting one place to another, but Westerfeld has made Behemoth an adventure in itself. The stakes continue to grow as Alek must start to command his own fate and Deryn/Dylan slinks ever closer to having her secret found out. Set squarely in Constantinople/Istanbul for most of the action, the reader is treated to an amalgamation of Clanker and Darwinist agendas that are as much at odds as they are balanced. The even writing makes this one easy book to gobble up while also being visually treated to the artistic stylings of Keith Thompson.

On top of the action, the characters feelings about their situations pervades more than in the first volume of the trilogy, but in an informative manner. Deryn, at odds with her desire to tell Alek that she's a girl, is growingly forced to confront the fact she's not like the rest of the crew on the Leviathan. And Alek, finally starting to find himself in a position to act in the war, must assume some level of leadership even if the people he's trying to influence aren't exactly cooperating as he'd like. And the eggs from the first book? Well, you'll find out soon enough, but that one's a nice little surprise that's still going to play out in the next book by the look of things.

A really solid volume that, in this reviewers opinion, is the rare example of a middle book in a trilogy being better than the first. Westerfeld is really hitting his stride and I, for one, cannot wait for the final volume. Very highly recommended for fans of steampunk, alternate history, and good reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readers of "Leviathan" will be delighted, January 7, 2011
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This review is from: Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) (Hardcover)
The long awaited sequel to "Leviathan" picks up right where Westerfeld left his main characters: on the verge of Constantinople/Istanbul. It is this `jumping-in' that makes "Behemoth" a novel that should only be read after the first in the series. Westerfeld expects the reader to have a certain amount of familiarity with this world so he does not need to spend many sentences re-explaining facts/events.

If you are reading this review and know nothing regarding the mythology that Westerfeld has created, here is a brief (spoiler-free) initiation.

Although the world of "Behemoth" has many parallels to our own, its differences are striking.' Like our own history, 1914 Europe is on the eve of The Great War.' The power is divided between the alliances of Germany/Austria-Hungary and that of England/France/Russia. The war is ignited after the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This is the kind of history we learn in our first year of secondary school. It is at this point that Westerfeld takes a leave from fact and delves into fiction.

Germany and Austria-Hungary are populated by people dependant on machines and mechanization. These masters of technology are the so called, Clankers.' Their engineers have perfected huge mechanized battle walkers, capable of impressive large scale assaults. The people of England/France/Russia have become devoted to a different form of technology, namely bio-tech. Known as Darwinists, these engineers have learned to manipulate DNA, creating new species capable of amazing things: metal devouring bats, message repeating lizards, giant floating whale-like airships, etc.

The story of "Behemoth" follows Deryn and Alec as they do their best to both blend-in and stay alive. Their respective heritage (Darwinist and Clanker) provides the classic `odd-couple' backdrop, but does not fall into the realm of cliché. Westerfeld gives his characters their own voice and motives which do not feel forced, but rather flows naturally. His description of the great city of Constantinople/Istanbul is rich with detail. In fact, Westerfeld's style allows the reader to become instantly comfortable with the varying history, to the point that it feels natural and accurate.

Readers of "Leviathan" will be delighted with this addition to the series and will wait with anticipation for the third book, "Goliath" (Oct 2011). If you have not read "Leviathan", I highly recommend it. Steampunk history books are becoming hotter by the month and Westerfeld's series is a great introduction into this genre.
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Disclaimer- I received a FREE copy of this book in order to write my review. All reviews are my honest opinion. I did not receive money for my review. I was not expected to write a positive review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Report Review - 2/21/12, February 21, 2012
I read the first book and loved it, so I waited and waited for this one to come out. "Behemoth" was just as good if not better than "Leviathan". I like this book mainly because of all the futuristic machines and animals. It is pretty unrealistic though which makes it a little less interesting, but it is a good book none the less.

I like how Westerfeild switches back and forth between characters so you can get their views of things that are happening. Real History lessons would be more interesting if non-fiction writers did the same thing. It does seem a little weird that he brings new characters in every little while and that he does it unexpectedly. I think Alek sould have waited a couple days before he joined the revolution so he could think about whether or not he was going to fight against the Sultan and the German ships though. It seemed odd that the rebels were so excited about Alek joining them so quickly. When all is said and done it was a great book and it had some interesting facts mixed into the fiction.

I hope that he turns the trilogy into a chronicles series so I can read more of these books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little less engaging than the first, August 9, 2011
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I liked the first book so much, I had to read the second. I'm not very good at stopping once I start a series. This one was just as much fun as the first, although I have to say I dislike cliffhangers, so the series irritates me a little. (Mostly I just dislike them because I hate waiting for the next one to come out.)

I really like the author's steampunk interpretation of WWI, and his portrayal of the great powers politics is pretty well on, despite the liberties taken. The plot is a little less tight in this book, it seems like some of the characters just kind of appear out of nowhere, and I don't entirely believe that he would have fallen in with the Turkish revolutionaries so easily. I doubt the rebels would have been so excited to take someone like Alek in. But in all, the book was really good again, and I'll definitely be reading the next in the series when it comes out. It appeals to all my likes - adventure, history, and fantasy. :)

Hopefully this series doesn't fall prey to the same bug as 'Pretties' and the books don't get to be successively less well-written versions of the same story, he's got another one coming out soon, so he has a chance to redeem himself yet, but we'll see. My fingers are crossed for a better third.
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Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy)
Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld (Hardcover - October 5, 2010)
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