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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish we had had this sort of technology back in 1914...or now!
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...
Published on 14 Nov 2009 by L. R. Richardson

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whoops
This book is meant for a young adult/ teen audience.
Did not know that, when I bought it!
Yeah, I know, I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to the other reviews of this book, but who here hasn't accidentally forgotten to do that on occassion?
Nevertheless, the book is well worth a read. The story is pretty good and it actually managed to...
Published on 1 April 2011 by Flemming Nielsen


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish we had had this sort of technology back in 1914...or now!, 14 Nov 2009
By 
L. R. Richardson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leviathan (Hardcover)
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. They both must re-evaluate their prejudices about the other and have interesting debates about nature vs machines. I also enjoy that they both keep a secret - one is royalty and one is a girl. I won't go into too many plot points because I'm wary of spoilers, but is is definitely an excellent book by one of my favourite young adult authors. I appreciate it when those writing for a younger audience make it fun, but sneak in good life lessons and values. Westerfeld wrote an afterward clearing up was was history and what was fantasy for readers not familiar with WWI. This is one of my favourite reads of the year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boyfriend happy, 25 May 2011
This review is from: Leviathan (Hardcover)
I bought this for my boyfriend, he'd added it to his wishlist (thinking it was a graphic novel), he really enjoyed reading it. Suitable for all ages apparently and fantastic illustrations.
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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 "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(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. I felt like it cut off right when we needed some important information, but I guess Westerfeld is leaving that for the sequel.

The book contains several beautiful black-and-white illustrations by Keith Thompson. I really enjoyed coming across those throughout the story.

Even though LEVIATHAN took me a while to get through, I still enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel.

Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL THE FUN, 15 Oct 2010
By 
A. D. MacFarlane (England, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
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. The way he repeated only a handful of Scottish words made me suspect he wasn't Scottish, because it felt a bit off at times, but he wrote all the British characters so well - so absent of any tally-ho old chap stiff upper lip sirrah stupidity - I thought surely he's British. Nope! I tip my hat to you, sir.

If you are partial to good YA, I recommend this one. I rarely finish a book grinning with joy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the next one..., 1 Dec 2009
By 
Mr. S. R. Reid "im_me_here" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leviathan (Hardcover)
Just finished it this weekend there, very enjoyable book indeed, can't wait for the next part in the series, and i hope there are many more.

I love alternative history type novels, and this one is pure steampunk - meshing old and new, during the first world war era, Darwinist living Creations and Clanker Steam Engines battle it out, with two young protaganists caught in the middle, great following how they both meet, and how they react to each other, their different backgrounds bringing them together.

Great illustrations throughout too just add to the enjoyment of the story.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whoops, 1 April 2011
By 
Flemming Nielsen (Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
This book is meant for a young adult/ teen audience.
Did not know that, when I bought it!
Yeah, I know, I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to the other reviews of this book, but who here hasn't accidentally forgotten to do that on occassion?
Nevertheless, the book is well worth a read. The story is pretty good and it actually managed to grab the inner teen in me, even though that's a few years in the past by now. So even if this is a young adult / teen book, I didn't regret buying it. In fact, I just might buy the second book as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wow recommended from reddit, 20 Jan 2014
By 
simon gaule (crawley, west sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Leviathan (Kindle Edition)
What more can I say? This book was recommended in a listing of alternate reality titles on r/ scifi in reddit.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Leviathan (Kindle Edition)
I wasnt sure about this book when i started reading it but i became engrossed and couldnt put it down. Its a mix between darwinism and steam punk, very enjoyable and i would recommend you give it a try.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner, 4 Jan 2014
This review is from: Leviathan (Kindle Edition)
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 the way. He's also a master of action, which makes for a joyously breathless read. On the down side the McGuffin of the eggs isn't resolved - which it's nothing short of a cheap way of selling book 2. It would have been better if I wanted to read book 2 because I cared about the characters, as it is they serve the plot and that's about all. Still great fun, bubblegum history-light.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk carnage!, 12 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
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.
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Leviathan
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
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