Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is a YA Steampunk novel- yes, you read that right.  YA Steampunk.  How many of you have read a YA Steampunk book that was not Leviathan or Behemoth??  (Seriously, I want to know so I can read those books!! )  Anyway, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started the book but it drew me in quickly.  This book isn't a super sci-fi nerds' dream made into a book... well, maybe it is.  But the point is that ANYONE can read this book.  It isn't hard to get drawn into this alternate history of WWI.  The two main characters, Deryn (Dylan is her boy name) and Alek, are endearing and interesting.  The book begins by following each of them separately until their paths cross.  Once they meet, the POV still changes but you are seeing almost the same thing but from a different view point. 

Deryn's character is wonderful because she's a girl living a lie.  To join the air force she's had to cut her hair and learn how to be a boy.  This makes it doubly funny when Alek tells her that she (Dylan) is the kind of boy that Alek wishes he was.  Deryn is brave, adventurous and fiercely loyal.  She protects her friend Alek even when doing so could threaten her life and freedom.  If anyone were to find out the secrets that she keeps for him, she could be hung as a traitor.  For me, it was almost sad at the end when she realized that she was falling in love with Alek but that he couldn't know because he thinks that she is a boy.

Alek is an interesting character who learns many life lessons and grows over the course of the book.  He begins the book as the son of the Archduke and ends the book as a mechanic and engine pilot.  Alek makes friends with Dylan and shares his most dangerous secrets with "him".  He learns about loyalty, humility, honor and bravery.  He also steps out of the world he has known his entire life to do something new.  Alek finds that doing the right thing is not always the easiest or safest thing to do.

This book was all around great.  The language is interesting and so is the alternate world that Westerfeld has created.  In his world of Darwinists and Clankers, so many people are afraid of what they don't know or aren't used to but two teenagers learn that maybe you can find a happy medium.  You can have a hydrogen breather that runs with engines and that Clankers and Darwinists aren't really so different after all.  I love this book and would recommend it to anyone over the age of 12 as there are concepts that would be hard for younger kids to understand.

Leviathan earns 5 Fairies for being an amazing YA Steampunk that should be on everyone's to read list.

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