Saturday, December 4, 2010

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

I love history.  It’s always been one of my favorite subjects in school and when a history documentary is on TV I will sit down and watch it, unless of course a space documentary is on at the same time.  A girls got to have her priorities straight.  But what does this have to do with books you may ask?  Well, today’s review is over Leviathan by Scott Westerfield, a story that revolves around the events preceding WWI but with a twist. 

So we open to a war scene describing a glorious army about to strike down their enemy’s.  the men are tall and proud and ready to fight for their country.  The machines are gleaming in the sun well oiled and ready to take down the enemy.  The horses stand strong and powerful and the men riding them know they are reliant.  Oh wait, never mind, it’s a child playing with his toys in his bedroom at the dead of night.  But this isn’t any boy; this is a prince, the child of the archduke of Austria.  His mentors are about to take him out of the castle to teach him how to night walk in a GIANT MECHANICAL WALKER.  Yup there’s the twist.  The Germans are “clankers” and the British are “beasties.”  The British use fabricated animals instead of machines for everything from cars to airships.  They take Darwinism to the extreme, where as the Germans have invented machines reminiscent of the giant walkers in star wars only much smaller and piloted by people who actually have a brain.

Anyway we’ve meet the Prince named Aleksander.  The other main character is Deryn Sharp, a girl pretending to be a boy to serve in the British air corps. Deryn is smart, quick witted and better then most of the boys in the service.  Now this is a heroine I can get behind!  She’s a born flier and will do anything to be in the sky, even pretend to be a boy which is actually a plus for her cause she doesn’t like girly things like dresses.  She ends up serving on the Leviathan, the first fabricated air ship and also the biggest. This is her dream come true, if she is allowed to stay when the ship picks up a Lady known as the Boffin, a scientist who works to come up with new fabricated species.  With the extra weight that the Boffin brings, they have to get rid of some crew members and Deryn and the other newbie airmen are first in line to be kicked out.  But of course, where would the story be if she did get kicked off the ship?  The book is called Leviathan; of course she is going to stay.

As we follow these two characters we see them grow and develop which I can not tell you how nice that is.  To many books keep their characters flat and one dimensional and they are so boooooooring.  Its like reading about rocks, but even that can be interesting with the right author.  And the supporting cast is interesting at times, boring at others but that’s alright. What we really want to know is what will happen to Deryn and Alek but oh wait, I forgot, there isn’t an end!  Yeah the book just stops.  No ending to anything.  Oh there’s a resolution and such, but the book itself just stops!  When Ii finished it I was baffled.  There has got to be more, Westerfiled wouldn’t just stop this book.  But he did, and its annoying.  I am ok with books setting up a sequel but not when they don’t have an ending themselves!

Besides all that though, it was a decent book with a really interesting story.  It’s obvious this book is for kids (it has pictures!) but that shouldn’t stop adults from reading it.  After all, what’s life if you can’t immerse yourself in a good book, even if that book isn’t meant for adults?
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