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Leviathan (The Leviathan Trilogy) Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 355 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Leviathan Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 END


"Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic." -- starred, School Library Journal

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Amazon Exclusive
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the art for the airship that gave Leviathan its name, and explore more from the bestselling author at Amazon's Scott Westerfeld Page [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Leviathan Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; First Edition edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416971734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416971733
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (355 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In an alternate history, Europe is headed towards a Word War. The Germanic Clankers, with their advanced machinery, face off against the British Darwinists, with their crossbred animals. The Darwinists have a new weapon, the Leviathan, a flying whale ship. Deryn Sharp is new to the service and is on the Leviathan for her first assignment. But only males are allowed to be in the service, so she must hide her identity from everyone, and disguise herself as a boy.

Meanwhile, Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand is woken in the middle of the night and forced to flee his home. With only a small group of men, Aleksandar faces foes at every turn. When the Leviathan lands near Aleksandar, he meets young Deryn, and their fates intertwine.

In this latest young adult novel from Scott Westerfeld, he has created an alternate history in a steampunk version of World War I. It's a fantastic world of elaborate machines and bizarre, unnatural animals. In addition to the unique world and fascinating story, the characters are just as absorbing and are the driving force behind the story. Aleksandar is spoiled, but very bright and capable. And Deryn is brave, talented, and humble. The two are from different worlds and seems as if the reader is viewing to drastically different stories, until the two worlds collide.

There is no lack of suspense and action in this steampunk adventure. As a growing niche in the science fiction genre, this novel is sure to be popular amidst youth and adults alike. With events culminating in a climactic ending, there is room left open for a sequel, which I certainly am hoping for. It's a fun, fresh and decidedly unique tale. Don't miss this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Eventhough the protagonists in Leviathan are 15 and 16 years old, Westerfeld's clean writing makes this book entirely appropriate for the younger middle grade (ages 8-12) set. My 11 yo really enjoyed the story - and he's taken to sporting a knit cap he says is a Bowler Hat.

Deryn is a girl who disguises herself as a boy so she can join the Air Service in 1914 Britain. Prince Aleksander is the half-royal not-heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne who struggles with duty and survival when the assassination of his parents pitches the world into war. Their paths collide and Westerfeld's fast-paced action doesn't disappoint. Oh, and there's Darwinist creatures pitted against Clanker machines, and the technology is a delicious mixture of retro steam and futuristic custom-designed creatures. Scott Westerfeld's fantastic imagination, combined with Keith Thompson's gorgeous line drawings, creates a feast for the mind and eyes.

The only drawback to this book is its ending: curses upon Westerfeld for his cliff-hanger books! You must read the next book Behemoth, but it doesn't come out until October 2010. Westerfeld says he will probably tour when Behemoth is released, so I may have to stalk him. The only question: how do I get my e-book signed? I might have to resort to having him sign something else. Maybe that collectible Leviathan art that would really look awesome on my wall.

Westerfeld writes smart and very clean books. The violence is real, but not gratuitous, and almost completely bloodless. There is death in Leviathan. This is war, after all. Alek accidentally kills a soldier, and Deryn is involved in a couple battles where fatalities occur. The dead are hinted at, but not described.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked the story but it just seemed to take forever to get off the ground (no pun intended). Of the two separate stories, I felt Deryn's was way more interesting, Alek came across to me as annoying, stupid, and illogical at times and I had to force myself to read through his parts of the story. Deryn was much more likable and thus easier to read about. Once the two parts came together, I thought the story flowed much better and was an easier read.
The details on the Darwinist creations, and they way they work together to form a sort of ecology was very interesting and made me want to read more to learn more about this world they live in.
All in all, a decent story, almost prologue like, that will leave you wanting to read the next book.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of Scott Westerfeld, from his Uglies series to the Midnighters series. And he keeps on getting better and better! This time, we get to go back in time to an alternate world that's a World War 1 / Steampunk mash-up. The steampunk element gives Keith Thompson an opportunity to show off his talents with beautiful black-and-white sketches.

The alternate reality in Leviathan is amazingly fascinating. As Westerfeld explains in his author's note, the basic events in the novel are based on history - there was a real Archduke of Austria/Hungary whose assassination precipitated the 1st World War in Europe. But for the rest of the novel, Westerfeld pretty much goes off into a tangent of his own making. The world in Leviathan is divided into the `Clankers' - people with highly advanced machine technology / engineering versus the `Darwinists' - people who have mastered DNA manipulation such that they are able to create bizarre crossbred species called `beasties' or fabricated animals. It is an incredible world wherein there are Stormwalkers (tanks that walk instead of roll - think of steampunk versions of the Imperial Walkers from `Empire Strikes Back') and the Leviathan (a whale that serves as a living airplane) amongst other delights.

These two groups are natural enemies, but an alliance is formed from necessity between a group of `Clankers' - 15-year-old young prince-in-hiding Alek and his loyal band of men and `Darwinists' - 15-year-old Deryn/Dylan (who is masquerading as a boy soldier) and the British Air Service aboard the Leviathan.

Westerfeld has always had a nice touch with young girls as characters. Deryn is no different, she is spirited, spunky and endlessly resourceful, and yes, can be annoying at times with her over-achiever Type-A personality.
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