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Leviathan (The Leviathan Trilogy) Paperback – August 10, 2010
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In short, this was a wonderful read. The novel follows two teens from both Powers who struggle to keep their identities a secret while the world goes to war. While there was lots of action and plot, the end of the book was totally left open for a sequel. Fortunately, the trilogy is all published and I even made sure my local library had the next two books! The writing is really cheeky. The dialogue matched each character beautifully. Alek, our Austrian prince, is such a strong character. He suffers great loss and doesn't get time to deal with his grief. Deryn, our British main character, is just as strong. Her strength and determination is different from Alek. She is determined to be the best air serviceman, she can be.
If you enjoy crazy technology, hydrogen sniffing dogs with two snouts, and a great story about finding yourself, Leviathan is a wonderful choice. Oh! that reminds me! Interspersed throughout this whole novel are wonderful illustrations done by Keith Thompson. The illustrations are so detailed and bring the novel to life!
For the most part, I listened to the audio book, even though I happen to have picked up both the audio and Kindle editions during two different promotions. I really enjoyed this book a lot. Despite the war-time and technological advancement politics, the book kept a nice pace. I did get really tired of Deryn's favorite insult, "bumrag," very quickly. Most of the other "cursing" consists of phrases like, "barking spiders!" which I found whimsical and refreshing. I liked this book well enough that I will probably listen to or read book two (once I pick it some time after I've cleared up more of my Audible-Kindle slush pile).
The book contains illustrations that were very nice. I flipped through the Kindle edition at some point and looked at all of them. Early on in listening to this book on the Amazon Echo, the Echo activated itself when Cumming would read the phrase, "Alek said." I found it amusing,,but others may not. I didn't notice do so a lot as the book progressed, though. Alan Cumming was a really fine narrator for this story and really enjoyed his performance very much. There were a couple of times I had to adjust the audio level because he would drop his voice a bit, but that's my only quibble.
Overall, I recommend this book--and audio book--quite highly. This could open up some great familial or classroom discussions about history and the opposing technology (machines or engineered creatures). The authors' afterword (which is in both the the Audible edition and Kindle edition) is really interesting and covers the historical events vs. his fictional ones a bit and could lead to further exploration.
The duel story of Deryn and Alek really captures the mind. I loved the references to real world events and the quick comparison between his book and the real story of The Great War makes me want to research more about WWI so I'm more prepared for the references while reading the next book in the series.
There's a bunch of great tension in both storylines and I was so excited when the two finally crossed paths, despite the difficulties they faced while crossing paths.
If I had to nitpick a problem, I'd say it's the disjointed way the time jumps in the individual storylines as they move forward before they meet up. There would be parts where some grand future adventure would be hinted at only to have it ripped away from the reader to jump to some several weeks in the future. I'm sure the plan was to get the characters in the single storyline as soon as possible, but it was a bit jarring.
Overall though, I fell in love with this world and the characters and I'm eagerly looking forward to getting to the next book in the series.
Top international reviews
I tore through this imaginative, well-written book, and before I realised it, I had to buy book two in the series...
In this universe, it seems as if the conflict will be between the Clankers, with their diesel-driven walkers and zeppelins, and the Darwinians with their genetically engineered beasts. The usual political reasons for the war are in place as well, but the differing approaches to war machines really help the sides to stand out.
We have two protagonists; the first is the orphaned son of Franz Ferdinand, the second a Scottish girl masquerading as a boy within the Air Force. Their voices are distinct, their situations opposing enough to be equally exciting.
The Leviathan of the title, a vast living airship, is a great setting, and while this is obviously an introductory adventure, the world Westerfeld has created is fascinating enough to power a dozen such books.
Westerfield is a master at penetrating the adolescent mind, and his young heroes and heroines are so convincing, you can hear them speak in your head as you read. I particularly loved Deryn, the young Scottish girl who wangles her way into the air force. With her Amy Pond-style feistiness, young actresses from north of the border would kill for a role like this. Her kindred spirit from the opposing side is Alex - and he, too, has star quality as he quickly has to come to terms with loss.
The writing is masterful: direct, muscled, vivid. This powerful novel (and yes, it is a novel) is the first in a tour de force series that proves that teen literature isn't just for teens. As if all this weren't enough, the darkly menacing and atmospheric illustrations by Keith Thompson clinch the deal. At home, we gobbled up Leviathan, followed by Behemoth and now we're fighting over Goliath with greater urgency than when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out.
Leviathan. It's big.
The 2 young protaganists are a delight.
The use of real historical events and people only serve to make a more interesting read. On a darker note it shows the futility of war and the sheer pointlessness of WW1 in particular.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in well written science fiction.
Beautifully written, strong caracthers and just an amazing immagination and scenarios! And I am well past my teens!
Many people raved about the book and so I took a chance a brought it.
What a find! The seemless way the writer draws you in and utterly convinces you of this timeline is sublime. The book reads fast paced but simple and has a light adventurous feel whereby you find if hard not to get caught up in the feelings and emotions of our two young heroes. I am fast on my way to get the rest of the series.
Fast paced. Alternate history. A real what if? Book.
Follows two young adventures, thrust into action by miss dead's tragedy and betrayal.
This book brings to life the creations of all its caricature's and beasties.
Well worth a read!!!!