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Behemoth (The Leviathan Trilogy) Paperback – August 9, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–This book continues the hard-driving, action-packed adventures of Alek, heir to the throne of the Austrian empire and current British prisoner of war, and Deryn Sharp, a midshipman assigned to the Leviathan. Their loyalties to their respective governments and philosophies are tested as their friendship grows; Alek is an Austrian Clanker and Deryn an English Darwinist. After the Leviathan is damaged by a German attack, Alek and his personal guard escape the airship and join a revolutionary group dedicated to the overthrow of the sultan of Istanbul. Meanwhile Deryn has been sent to sabotage a key military blockade in the Istanbul harbor. But true havoc doesn't ensue until the teens are reunited. This dynamite novel incorporates factual events of the early months of World War I: the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Churchill's confiscation of an Ottoman Empire warship, and the instability and revolution within the Empire. However, the elements of steampunk, biological and mechanical technology, sheer over-the-top adventure, and great storytelling make this a must-have addition to any speculative fiction collection. Thompson's sumptuous full-page illustrations capture the goings-on and contribute to the cinematic feel of the book.Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Things slow down just a wee bit in this sequel to the WWI alt-history Leviathan (2009). Here, the focus shifts more onto wartime politicking than smash-dash battling, but Westerfeld maintains a steady influx of the series’ real strength—the superbly imagined mechanical contraptions and genetically crafted creatures. The bulk of the story takes place in Istanbul, as both the Clankers (Austria-Hungary and Germany) and Darwinists (England and Russia) are intent on swaying the Ottoman Empire in their favor. British midshipman Deryn (still disguised as a boy) and Prince Alek (heir-in-hiding to the throne of Austria-Hungary) continue to find themselves squarely in the thick of things en route to a nicely tied-together climax featuring the title beastie. Anyone needing a good visual for what makes steampunk so alluring should look no further than Thompson’s intricate illustrations—black, white, and gray rarely look so vivid. Although there are messages about the futility of war and a burgeoning love story, this is first and foremost a high-concept action series, and Westerfeld knows how to pound a pulse while tickling the imagination. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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.
In Leviathan Part 2, “Behemoth”, the story has landed in part one’s goal of Istanbul. Up to this point a VIP guest scientist, the granddaughter of “The Great Darwin” himself (in this alternate steam punk history) is forcing the Leviathan, to Istanbul. In this alternate history the Leviathan, is a mighty British military airship. For imagery, think of a Zeppelin but much larger and genetically manufactured from something like a Blue Whale, double or tripled in size, filled with hydrogen, and operating like it’s own entire ecosystem.
Our VIP Darwin relative declares her purpose is to keep the Ottoman Empire out of the war with a mysterious gift that we learn are eggs containing some “genetically designed” creature of the VIP’s own making., Complicating things in this alternate history is Churchill having confiscated a great warship built for, and already paid for, by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Mr. Churchill’s hoping his actions will keep the Turks out of the war, and additionally give Britain a military advantage with the Sultan’s warship. (Which is actually quite similar to “real” history stories.)
Sounds complicated but this is still the double story of the young royal child mentioned in the Leviathan review, on one hand, and the ever more capable “Mr. Sharp” on the other. In “Behemoth” several characters are well developed. The VIP geneticist, the young royal teen and his several attendees, and the ever precocious and young “Mr. Sharp” (airman extraordinaire). “Mr. Sharp” believes “he’ is barely competent, yet seems at the center of all disastrous situations, and manages to trip, stumble, or against “his” better judgment, take action that “he’ll” probably be hung for, that usually results in a miraculous salvage from certain disaster for tens, hundreds, and even thousands of people, depending on the imminent disaster that is looming. .
While we are being walked through the strategies, diplomacies, and maneuvering of an alternate steam punk version of World War One, it is still being seen through the eyes of these two young people who seemed plucked from their lives and into the thick of all things, dangerous, frightful, and fattening.
My similar reviews cut and paste::
See my Amazon reviews here: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/profile/A3AT7TI6FXN6WM
In this second book of the Leviathan trilogy we get deeper into the politics and alliances of the war. Westerfeld does a great job of incorporating real events and twitching others to suit this lighter fantasy version of what we know as WWI. Of course, what makes it so fun is that the story revolves around Alek and Deryn. Deryn slowly realizes her feelings towards Alek run a wee bit stronger than she imagined. There's a certain tension to their scenes now that wasn't there before, especially with the loris laughing every time it says "Mr. Sharp." I never knew when Alek would finally get it. The beautiful Lilit also adds complications to the whole thing, and jealousy is certainly a new emotion for Deryn. Alek is very fond of his best friend, confides in Deryn, and counts on her for everything, but he still doesn't know her secret. In this book he's trying his hardest to bring about peace; he sees the rebellion as an opportunity to reach that ultimate goal. He also gets to see the real consequences of war, death and destruction.
I loved the meltingpot that was Istanbul, with both Clanker and Darwinist influences. The walkers were pretty amazing, being machines but keeping the forms in organic and animal shapes. Thompson does an amazing job of illustrating them all! I would just stop reading to examine each and every one of his drawings. Be prepared to read about Tesla cannon's, spottiswoode rebreather armor, perpicacious loris, ironclads, vitriolic barnacles and many other marvels in this steampunk world Westerfeld has imagined. Onwards to read Goliath!