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Leviathan [Kindle Edition]

Scott Westerfeld
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Book Description

The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that his parents have been assassinated and he is now a target for the Clanker Powers, a group determined to take over the globe with their mechanical machinery. When he meets Deryn Sharpe, an orphan girl who has disguised herself as a boy so she can to join the British Air Service, they form an uneasy, but necessary, alliance. But the pair will soon discover that their emerging friendship will dramatically change their lives - and the entire course of the Great World War...

Product Description


Two Imperial forces meet, one built with steam and the other built with DNA, producing rich, vivid descriptions of the technologies that divide a continent. The setting begs comparisons to Hayao Miyazaki, Kenneth Oppel and Naomi Novik, but this work will stand -- or fly -- on its own.
--Starred Review in Kirkus Reviews, September 2009

About the Author

'YA's hippest author' Scott Westerfeld is the author of the hugely popular Uglies series. As well as the Midnighters series and three stand alone YA novels, he has written five science fiction novels for adults. He and his wife, Justine, divide their time between Sydney and New York.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2551 KB
  • Print Length: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK (27 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003LPV16I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,230 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Midnighters trilogy, The Last Days, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and the sequel to Peeps. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Scott Westerfeld already has one amazing world he created, the sci-fi world of his Uglies series, and now he's gone ahead and made a world that's even cooler. Not only is this an excellent alternate history or steampunk book, but it's filled with absolutely stunning illustrations by artist Keith Thompson, though unfortunately the UK version doesn't have them. Boo!

Scott Westerfeld does an excellent, succinct job of summarizing his world in a short interview he did on John Scalzi's blog, Whatever. He states, "In the world of Leviathan, technology has split into two tribes: the Germanic Clankers, who are machine lovers, and the British-led Darwinists, who weave the life-threads of natural creatures into fabricated beasts. (To put it simply, in this world, Origins of Species was an instruction manual.)" In this book, there are tidbits of actual history, strange creatures, amazing technology, strong characters, and a truly original setting.

Alek is the son of the Austrian-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His parents have been assassinated (though in a slightly different manner than actually happened in history.) His son, though he is unable to inherit his father's role because his mother was not of royal enough blood, is on the run for his life along with some bodyguards that I imagine look and sound like Arnold Schwarznegger. Deryn is a young Scottish girl who desperately wants to join the air force. She ends up joining and cross-dressing as a man to do so. I love me some crossdressing in novels, and this works really well.

Eventually, of course, Deryn and Alek end up meeting in a strange turn of events and begin to grow close despite being on opposite sides of a brewing war.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL THE FUN 15 Oct. 2010
Fun fun fun fun fun--

Oh, an actual review. Well. It's got a girl pretending to be a boy in the British military (on a living airship) and a prince who rides around in a mecha-like contraption and it's fake WW1 with different tech and and I adored it.

It's a fairly straightforward plot: the Clankers (roughly corresponding to the Germans, Austro-Hungarians et al of WW1) and the Darwinists (Brits, French, Russians, etc) are on the brink of war. The former have steampunk tech while the latter have DNA-tweaked beasties large and small. The infamous assassination in Sarajevo sends Prince Aleksander, the not-quite-heir of Austro-Hungaria, on the run, while a female Darwinist scientist is on a top-secret mission to Istanbul on the same living airship as Deryn-dressed-as-Dylan. Their paths cross. It's also quite a small, incomplete plot, to be continued in book 2, but it's great fun all the way through. With accompanying illustrations!

Scientists are called boffins, the aforementioned female one has a pet thylacine, there are jellyfish-like floating beasties that the British use as surveillance balloons, there are messenger lizards, there's a kraken cameo, there are large eight-legged mecha as well as Alek's two-legged one, Deryn is marvellous. I adore the girl-dresses-as-boy trope with abandon and Deryn doesn't disappoint. She's reckless and brave and throws herself off the airship at one point (with some rope) to save her fellow crewmen and holds someone hostage at knifepoint and complains loudly that she's lost her razor as part of a gambit to keep everyone convinced she's really a boy.

Fun! =D

I should add that I was amazed when I found out the author's not English.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 8 Oct. 2009
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
LEVIATHAN is a novel of alternate history. More specifically, it can be classified as steampunk, which depending on what definition you read, is an extension of science fiction and fantasy. Westerfeld decides to reinvent the era of World War I in his latest novel. While he maintains some of the actual events of the war, he creates and alters many.

The story follows the lives of Deryn and Alek. Deryn is a young woman desperate to join the Air Men of the Darwinists Army (British Empire/France). With the help of her brother, she disguises herself as a boy and joins the fight. She has excellent Air Sense, which is a must for the Darwinists, since their main type of weaponry are flying airships made of living animals, with each animal in the ecosystem playing its part. The Leviathan is an airship made up of a countless number of animals - from the smallest microscopic animal to a giant whale that contains everything.

Alek's parents, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, have been assassinated, leaving Alek on the run for his life. The Austro-Hungarian Empire/Germany wants him dead in order to ensure the end of the bloodline to the throne. Alek's people are referred to as the Clankers because of the loud noises that come from their form of weaponry - swords, cannons, aeroplanes, and, most exciting, walkers. Picture a huge tank with legs instead of treads.

Both Deryn and Alek are dedicated to their causes, and when they are thrust into the same fight and forced to work together, both must take a look at the world around them and see things from the other's perspective.

The ending really leaves the reader hanging, and not necessarily in a good way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable youth steampuunk
Now this book is not perfect, the characterization is definitely weak, but the clash of two scientific philosophies in this young person's steampunk novel is rather enjoyable if... Read more
Published 5 days ago by harpoon guns to 'safe', please
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
I'm fairly new to the steampunk genre, and wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but I'm now on the second in the series (Behemoth), and am absolutely hooked. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ava
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A thoroughly enjoyable series. Read them all.
Published 2 months ago by Philip Lawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 5 months ago by julie dervey
5.0 out of 5 stars wow recommended from reddit
What more can I say? This book was recommended in a listing of alternate reality titles on r/ scifi in reddit. Read more
Published 14 months ago by simon gaule
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising
I wasnt sure about this book when i started reading it but i became engrossed and couldnt put it down. Read more
Published 14 months ago by trish
4.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner
An alternate Europe on the brink of WWI - what's not to like? After an uncertain start, Westfield takes lots of liberties with just about everything and has a whole heap of fun on... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Doc Curly
3.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk carnage!
Good for the kids, but lacked substance and plausibility. I also dislike that it reimagined World War 1 in such a way. It seemed too contrived and distasteful.
Published 15 months ago by Mr. Thomas R. Parkin
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to Behemoth
A solid start to what promises to be an interesting series and I really loved the illustrations giving the story that extra appeal. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jerico
5.0 out of 5 stars Leviathan - powerful novel for all ages
From the opening, Scott Westerfield's Leviathan offers cinematic action, tight dialogue and a sweeping saga of a world warped by a strange war. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Pamela Kelt
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