Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld (2009)
YA Fiction | Historical Fantasy | Steampunk
“Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.”
pooled ink Review:
Simply fantastic! Leviathan is an enjoyable blend of past and future, of fact and fiction, of history and sci-fi! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!
Take the event “World War I” and infuse it with the flavorings and spices of “Steampunk” and then fill it with the thrills, adventure, danger, friendships, alliances, traitors, rebellions, and heart of a fantastic YA novel and BOOM. You just put together Leviathan.
This book takes history and embeds it with Westerfeld’s own creative juices and gives us something so fun and thrilling yet so serious and gripping. Of course you can always guess some of the major outcomes if you know your history well enough (Spoiler alert: Germany loses.) but there are so many hand-crafted fictional elements tossed into the mix that it all gets a bit muddled (well unless you do know your history that well) and you can’t help but hold your breath in anticipation for what will happen next.
On top of all that the plot is so fun and intriguing with a unique spin on the angle of the story that you’ll be swept away within moments being thrown and tossed on the waves of war.
Deryn Sharp is a fabulous character and I really love her. So full of daring, pluck, and loyalty that she never ceases to amaze me (and her constant swearing is hilarious and so in character). Aleksander is also a terrific character. He really brings in an interesting perspective on it all with his good intentions, intelligence, and determined soul.
Casting the protagonists of this story as a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service and a young Prince who is a good-hearted enemy truly adds a whole other dimension to the story and an incessantly interesting twist to telling a version of World War I. Also, casting them on opposing sides provides new light and differing insights to the warring countries, cultures, politics, religions, and intentions.
I’ve known about this series since I read Westerfeld’s Uglies series way back in middle school and immediately looked him up online but I’ve been holding off reading these books for ages because I just really wasn’t sure if it was my thing or not or if it could be as satisfying and awesome as Uglies had been. I can’t believe I wasted all that time. It was fantastical and historical and absolutely worth the read. This seriously might be wedging its way into my top 10 series. Just kidding it’s already there. Still, let’s hope it continues and ends just as fabulously as it began!
Posted on Goodreads on July 8, 2014
Purchase here: Leviathan
Meet Scott Westerfeld!
Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.