Leviathan

Leviathan[Reading] ➺ Leviathan ➰ Scott Westerfeld – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Librarian's note this ISBN was also used for the 2014 reprint edition with different cover artYıl 1914Arşidük Franz Ferdinand ve karısı henüz suikaste uğramıştır politik entrikalar ve panik Librarian's note this ISBN was also used for the reprint edition with different cover artYıl Arşidük Franz Ferdinand ve karısı henüz suikaste uğramıştır politik entrikalar ve panik tüm bölgeyi kasıp kavurmaktadırBunlar size tanıdık geliyor olabilir fakat bu çatışmadaki yanlışlar tarih derslerinizden hatırladıklarınızla tam olarak aynı değil Bu dünyada güçler iki karşıt felsefeye göre ayrılıyor Ya kaderi karmaşık bir şekilde tasarlanmış insan dizaynı dişlilerle ve pistonlarla makineciliğe adamış bir Clanker’sınızdır Ya da Charles Darwin’in devrim yaratan buluşlarını çağdaş yaşama ulaşmak için bir adım ileriye götürerek canlı yaratıkları evrimleştirmeye başlayan bir Darwinist’sinizdir bunlar aslında kapak yazıları ama başlangıç için yeterli olabiler sankiAvusturya Macaristan tahtının müstakbel vârisi Prens Aleksandar firardadır Kendi halkı ona sırtını dönmüştür Elinde kalan son şey eskimiş bir savaş makinesi ve sadık askerleridirDeryn Sharp İngiliz hava kuvvetlerinde bir erkek çocuğu kılığında görev yapan sıradan halktan biridir Çok yetenekli bir havacıdır Fakat sırrı sürekli ortaya çıkma tehlikesi altındadır. Like many of my friends I've been looking forward to getting my hands on Leviathan for a while It is so sad that after such a long wait I can't give this book than 2 stars And if I am being honest I added second star for fabulous cover art and excellent illustrations 1 or 2 per chapter My low rating doesn't mean however that I would recommend NOT to read this book I simply didn't care for it personally for several reasonsFirst this book seems to be mistakenly classified as young adult fiction To me it read like a children's book middle school maximum For a book about 15 16 year olds Daryn and Alek are written awfully young By the way their thought process their behavior and motivations are portrayed you'd think they are 11 12 years old they are even drawn by the illustrator as pre teens I can enjoy some books written for this age group such as first 2 Harry Potter books or His Dark Materials but the world of Leviathan just didn't hold my attentionSecondly the book is extremely heavy on descriptions of various machinery and fabricated animals and battles between them I know this is the core of the book a war between Clankers and Darwinists but I hoped this concept would be presented in a interesting manner Just reading about how the zeppelins are constructed or how to operate an airship made out of a combination of creatures bored me to death And lastly for a book that is supposed to offer an alternative history the alternativeness is very thin and doesn't go beyond war machinery The rest is pretty much taken from real history we are not offered anything new in terms of government structure social order belief system etc It is possible however that Westerfeld will explore these avenues in later books in the seriesI wouldn't discourage anyone from giving this book a shot But if you are like me and prefer books for older teens have no interest in mechanics and war battles like to have a little bit of teen romance in your stories you can safely skip this book I really enjoyed Westerfeld’s Uglies so I was excited to read this new book set in an alternate reality It’s the dawn of World War I and war is about to erupt between two great powers – the Clankers Germany Austro Hungary and the Darwinists England France Russia The Clankers are technologists with walking tanks a la Star Wars zeppelins and airplanes while the Darwinists have discovered ways to manipulate DNA and create biological hybrids like floating whale ships lizards that relay messages in English jellyfish hot air balloons and elephantine beasts of burden Westerfeld’s world is beautifully realized and totally convincing Lots of action and two great main characters who have dangerous secrets The whole time I was reading it I was thinking ‘This needs to be an online role playing game’ The possibilities are endless I’ll be looking forward to the next book in this series Check it out this is a zippy high spirited breeze of a novel aimed at the lucrative TROPE1 audience and with clear appeal for even younger folks as far as characterization and narrative go there is not much here that will suprise or challenge the readerbut the novel does have charm lots of it don't expect to get your mind blown but it is certainly a pleasant way to spend a few hours and there are many enjoyable elements in the now almost played out use of TROPE2 big clanky walking machines living dirigibles and various flying machines or machine beasts the setting itself and the enjoyable TROPE3 of europe during the first world war now rife with imaginative historical tweaks and simmering distrust between the machine lovin' Clankers and the evolutionary mix masters the Darwiniststhe TROPE4 is rather standard a plucky mouthy resilient young TROPE5 who TROPE6 to have the adventures of a boy nonetheless despite the familiarity of the gender bending she is thoroughly enjoyable the TROPE7 is also rather standard a prickly and often high handed little TROPE8 but also a TROPE9 one too both TROPE10 are TROPE11 on several occasions their TROPE12 is nicely played out through TROPE13 and the inevitable TROPE14 wait to rear their predictable little heads until very near the end as the young miss starts feeling some sparks during a fervent bit of grateful hugging it is actually adorable and all the better for its lack during most of the novel and there are also two adult characters who are fun but again rather standard an eccentric zookeeperscientistenvoy TROPE15 and her probable TROPE16 a sardonic and loyal austrian 'wildcount'the narrative is propulsive yet episodic there is no standard TROPE17 for the hero or heroine although i suppose Alek's TROPE18 to the austrian crown may eventually ualifybut so far there is really nothing for him to uest after as he spends most of his time hiding and running for the time being the reader is immersed in action that comes breathless and willy nilly with little pause for reflection or rumination i would have appreciated some uiet times where the reader gets to live and breathe the characters' lives and the world's strangeness but clearly the novel is geared towards younger shorter attention spansi love the steampunk subgenre on that level the novel succeeds i may just be a sucker for reading about TROPE19 about TROPE20 although obviously this novel is not set during the victorian era about TROPE21 about TROPE22 in generalthe novel includes a bunch of pleasing black and white illustrations they are wonderful almost TROPE23 ific minus the TROPE24 of course KEY 1 Young Adult2 steampunk3 alterna history4 heroine5 tomboy6 disguises herself as a boy 7 hero8 prince9 sad and rather tragic10 almost over their heads heroes11 brave and uick thinking and save the day 12 gradual coming together13 alternating pov chapters14 romantic clichés15 liberated lady16 surprise love interest17 uest18 legacy as the heir 19 futuristic yet strangely archaic technology20 uasi victorian explorations of sexual repressiongender imbalance21 nifty new ways that evolution can be tweaked22 anachronism23 Edward Gorey24 morbid child killing It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives It is the one that is the most adaptable to change Charles DarwinThe world of Leviathan set in 1914 is divided into Darwinists and Clankers The Darwinists have evolved genetics to make animals useful to humans The Clankers have built their society on machinery technology I love maps and Scott Westerfeld provided a great map to show how his imagined world has been divided up between the two camps of thought Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand awakes one night to find that his world has been turned upside He had an uncertain future to begin with being the son of the heir to the Austria Hungary throne; and yet because his mother was of common blood the marriage was deemed a left handed marriage which does not allow Alek to inherit his father's title Franz Ferdinand His father and mother survive the initial assassination attempt that in our reality sparked World War One In Westerfeld's world they survive only to be poisoned later that night at a dinner party Alek is whisked away by men loyal to his father in a Stormwalker a two legged war machine Despite the fact that he has no legitimate claim to the throne the Germans are intent on neutralizing him Emperor Franz Joseph is old and the Germans fear he will recognize Alek as his heir They would prefer someone likely to ally with their war aims In the book A Nervous Splendor Vienna 1888 1889Frederick Morton speculates that Rudolph's suicide Franz Joseph's son was actually an assassination by Germany fearing his anti Germanic rhetoric It makes sense but suicide was in fashion in Vienna in the 1880s and there is very little evidence to support the theory but that said given what is at stake I wouldn't be surprised that Germany had a hand in eliminating Rudolph Germany has always played too large a role in Austrian politics In Westerfeld's world instead of a young Bosnian being behind the assassination of Ferdinand the Germans are the originators of the coming conflict Alek finds himself in a desperate race to reach the Swiss border before the German's can capture him Our other hero is Deryn Sharp She has just joined the British air service Because she is a girl and girls are not allowed to join the military she has disguised herself as a boy named Dylan She is assigned to the Leviathan a living whale flying ship Despite being in constant peril of discovery she shows bravery and intuitive cunning that makes her a valuable midshipman Of course Deryn and Alek are on a collision course and their first meeting is less than ideal Despite the fireworks and the misunderstandings they are uickly becoming friends Another real character masuerading in Westerfeld's world is Nora DARWIN Barlow who has become critical to the upcoming war effort as England needs advances in genetics to have a chance against the Clanker armies of Germany She is the granddaughter of Charles Darwin Nora Darwin Barlow Miss Barlow's constant companion is a Tasmanian Tiger an animal that creates nervous moments for those around her Unfortunately in our reality the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936 a species that was a casualty of man versus nature I liked Miss Barlow and hope she continues to be a key part of the plot in the subseuent books The book is littered with amazing line drawings that really adds to the experience of the book I wish adult books had illustrations There are a plethora of amazing starving artists in this country that could use the work We are a visual culture and I don't believe it takes away any literary value to a book to be enhanced with an artist's conception of the writer's creation I will be reading book two Behemoth Westerfeld left me hanging in the skies over Europe with our heroes on a secret mission to the Ottoman Empire and the German's trying everything in their arsenal to bring them back to Earth Alternate title An Adventure in Which an Aristocratic Young Man Discovers How to Pilot an All Terrain Walker and that he is Now an Orphan and a Young Woman Disguises Herself as a Young Man and Joins the Navy to Pilot Flying Octopi and WhalesI rarely read Young Adult so it is a mark of Westerfeld’s credit that I didn’t abandon ship immediately I picked it up as a monthly read mistakenly assuming the group disualified the genre from nominations I know what you are thinking–why didn’t I uit Well Leviathan has been making reading lists for some time with solid ratings from my friends And every now and then I do read some fantastic young adult It isn’t the book’s fault exactly–it’s mine“It felt odd fencing in farmer’s clothes without servants standing ready to bring water and towels Mice scrambled underfoot and the giant Stormwalker watched over them like some iron god of war Every few minutes Count Volger called a halt and stared up at the machine as if hoping to find in its stoic silence the patience to endure Alek’s clumsy techniue”It begins with Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand of Austria Hungary headed to bed musing on the battle he was enacting with his little tin soldiers Before long he’s awakened by his father’s trusted adviser on what he thinks is a nighttime training mission–piloting a land walker in the dark Try as I might I could not stop visualizing the Star Wars edition circa 1983 Prince Alek is young and makes all sorts of silly mistakes thinking the advisers might be out to kidnap him not believing his parents were killed and accidentally betraying his noble upbringing It’s hard to be in disguise as a peasant Apparently his situation is the byproduct of an attempt to incite a war Meanwhile Deryn Sharp is also discovering it is hard to live in disguise–in her case as a boy You have to swagger and hit people a lot but she’s learning fast as she goes through training in the British Air Service During her test flight her balloonoctopus accidentally gets away and results in her being picked up by a mammoth–excuse me whale–of a flying warship She gets a place in the crew and manages to become part of an important diplomatic mission Of course the two worlds will collide Oh did I mention they are also the Romeo and Juliet of the European world representing opposite sides in the conflict who in turn represent opposite applications of technology“According to her aerology manual the big hydrogen breathers were modeled on the tiny South American islands where Darwin had made his famous discoveries The Leviathan wasn’t one beastie but a vast web of life in ever shifting balance”The most engaging aspect of the tale was the cultural construct of how scientific thought was applied In the English faction science dove right into “Darwinism” gene splicing and biotech Inventions are based upon biological creations operating in mechanical ways Thus the flying octopus balloons and the whale based airships powered by renewable biomass It’s extremely interesting and creative and was without doubt one of the reasons I kept reading Plotting felt solid Relatively predictable of course given our YA heroes but with a twist or turn along the way as to the structure of the conflict I read the hardcover which not only has a lovely jacket but a creative European west Asian map on the faceplate The illustrations by Keith Thompson are shown in perfect detail I thought they added a great deal to the story occasionally providing some imagery to hook the story on and was glad I was reading paper It wouldn’t have worked as well on my e readerWriting style was excellent and again sign of Westerfeld’s skill as far as I’m concerned Deryn does speak in a heavy slang at times to the point that Alek complains she is almost incomprehensibleConfession time not only to I not enjoy Young Adult as a genre I really don’t enjoy modern human history Part of it is the arbitrariness of the detail for me Leader X of Y ate apples and bananas in 1935 and might have set off a world war when he accidentally tipped the farmer who lost his shirt in the milk shortage a gold coin I just can’t remember that kind of arbitrary minutia; I’m much better with cardiovascular output baroreceptors and red blood cells porting around oxygen to the outer perimeters Westerfeld’s set up has to do with Leader Somebody So and So not being something or another in 19 Something Something only it went the Other Way in real life I didn’t care when I tried to learn it in 1985 and I really don’t care now But kudos to you Westerfeld for making a pivotal historical event your story lynchpin The other reason it is was never going to work for me fighting Events leading up to war Young people discovering adult politics Mounted scouts Flying stuff shooting at other flying stuff Land stuff shooting at flying stuff Skirmishes You know–tin soldiersUpshot Hugely readable well written and illustrated book that almost completely misses my reading interests and manages to be entertaining anyways If any of that appeals to you I highly recommend it The Archduke of Austria Hungary and his wife are assassinated and their son Alek flees into the night with trusted advisors Deryn Sharp disguises herself as a boy to gain a post on a Darwinist airship With a Great War brewing how will their paths intersectI had Leviathan on my kindle for so long I'd largely forgotten when I purchased it Sometimes you just want to read about giant steam powered robots in the dawn of World War ILeviathan is a steampunk adventure tale set in the opening months of World War I in an alternate world where war is brewing between the Darwinists and the Clankers Darwinists use genetically engineered war machines while Clankers use big honking human piloted robots Sounds pretty good rightIn a Young Adult sort of way it's a fun tale Will her comrades find out Deryn is a woman Will the Germans find where Alek is hiding Will we see brutal robot on robot actionThe worldbuilding in Leviathan was my favorite part Who doesn't love giant robots and huge living airships Setting it during World War I was a nice change of pace that avoided some of the usual steampunk tropes I also liked that Alek and Deryn didn't instantly fall in love and neither of them was a Chosen One type of characterThe writing didn't wow me however It was pretty average and felt a little repetitive at times My main gripe while we're on the subject is that not a lot actually happened I'm aware that it was the first book in a trilogy but it was pretty unsatisfying on its own It set up a lot of stuff for future installments but had very little meat to it on its ownThree out of five stars I'm still undecided whether or not I want to spend money on the other two however A missing piece can be very bad for the puzzle whether in the natural world or politics or here in the belly of an airship Initial Final Page ThoughtsThat’s what I want to know Alek That’s what I want to know High PointsDeryn Alek This world wooow why doesn’t it exist yet Huxleys Darwinists Clankers Flying wales Cow farts TrinketsDiddies Messenger lizards Science Nature Snowshoes Tazza Dr Barlow Frostbitten bums Odd kind of tingling The prospect of seuelsLow PointsI think I’ll appreciate this book all the when I look back on it after reading the others which may or may not be zooming down the motorway to my house as I typeThis isn’t a gripe directed solely at Mr Westerfeld like everyone who has ever written a story where a girl dresses up as a boy and no one noticesYes that’s right It’s also directed at YOU director of Shakespeare in Love and that film where Channing Tatum takes his top off a lot and there’s football sorry soccer involved She’s the Man Basically this rant is aimed at Shakespeare shakes firstSure I could get over it if the girl in uestion was like a baby People would notice a sixteen year old girl who looks extremely pretty in the illustrations I need to add was gallivanting around a whaleEven if her diddies are on the small side The whole idea of people changing one thing about themselves and all of the sudden are unrecognisable is a serious pet peeve of mine I go off on one provide an extremely sound and mature argument in my Shadows on the Moon reviewBut you know what I don’t care because Deryn is brilliant and if anyone could fool a ship full of silly boys she couldHeroOh Alek I think you’re going to end up getting overshadowed in this review which is completely unfair because you are brilliant tooBut well DerynissocoolwhinesSorry Alek I’m back with you promise You have all this ridiculous stuff happening around you and you still have the time to be a Grade A sweetheart I applaud you because if I was an Austro Hungarian prince I would be whinging like nobody’s businessI loved how he was innocent and naïve and a bit of wimp but he was determined to learn and break free of people’s perceptions of him and his ancestors and all that shebangI’m really excited to see where Alek’s learning curve takes him Also the banter between him and Deryn was hilarious“Listen I’m not really supposed to be this far from home I just happened to be out hiking when I saw your ship come down”“Out hiking” Deryn said “In all this barking snow At night”“Yes I often hike on the glacier at night”“With medicine” And I can’t wait to see what happens when what I think will happen happensHero Heroine Hero Jo’s Best FriendYES YES YESI’ve only read one book but already Deryn is one of my favourite female heroinesShe can fashion a zipwire while dangling under a suid thing I’m going to start adding that to my necessary friend reuirements And this is the point where I would get slightly nervous because I always fall in love with fantastic heroines in the first book of a series and then get my heart dashed as it goes on Looking at you Katniss but I have no doubt that Deryn and I are for keepsfingers crossedAnd OH I caught you with your tingling feelings after a certain prince hugged you Don’t think I didn’t see thatJust because you’re a soldier doesn’t mean you can’t twist your skirts every now and again or um you know your uniformed pants Again I can’t wait to see what happens when what I think will happen happens IllustrationsWhen the wonderful Catie recommended this book to me to be part of my Illustrated Book Week I was sceptical because it didn’t look like the kind of book that should be illustratedI mean it wasn’t about magic or fairy tales or monstersIt was about alternative war and machines and boy stuffBut boy am I glad it was illustratedI think they are particularly important because they are so detailed and perfectly capture Westfeld’s fantastical world They almost looked like they had been produced with the smog and grime and grease from one of the Clanker's machines What I loved was that even though they were highly detailed and intricate they also managed to maintain their cartoon ness Is there a word for that I loved the pictures with the characters on them the most because Mr Thompson got their facial expressions perfectlyAlso the fact that Deryn is taller than Alek was brilliantTheme TuneI couldn’t find any song that really went with giant whale airships and clankingSo I’m going to choose a song for my girl Deryn Just a Girl by No DoubtWell I say I’m fellow music lover Catie chose this one because I was too busy buying the next two books Sadness Scale 310 Almost zilch but I think Alek’s story if you know yourum alternate history you’ll know what I mean was really sadPoor little pupAnd also while I’m thinking about it Deryn’s story is sad as well But she doesn’t tend to dwellI hope we’ll get to find out about these and their feelings as the series goes on Recommended ForPeople who are looking for a fast paced high action book with great characters and fantastic potential for the rest of the books People who live in places where they can’t get mobile reception but have an abundance of lizards who seem to listen to your conversations People who think that the smell of fish and cow farts always lead to adventure People who would look great in a bowler hat People who actually use the words “boffin” and “ninny” in everyday conversations I actually do you know when I’m not swearing like a lorry driver People who always take medicine when they go on their glacial hikes Boys who couldn’t recognise a girl if she cut her hair short and wore pants People who are suspicious of eggs People who can’t wait to see what happens when what they think will happen happensYou can read this review and other exciting things on my blog here After reading Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices I got a taste for steampunk that I have not been able to satiate until now Someone please correct me if I am wrong but I believe Leviathan is targeted for early YA in the same vein as Percy Jackson and the early Harry Potters My advice to you is if you are thinking about reading any of the Rick RiordanPercy Jackson books; put that thought out of your mind right now and pick up Leviathan instead Trust me on this one you will thank me for it Leviathan is alternate history novel that takes place in the time immediately preceding WWI Just after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were murdered in Sarajevo Leviathan follows the story of their fictional son and heir to the throne Alek as he attempts to escape the armies wanting to kill him Austria like Germany is a “Clanker” nation which means they rely on machines for weapons and transportation We have dual protagonists in this book and different chapters are told from the different protagonist’s viewpoints Our 2nd main character is Deryn Deryn is a young female commoner disguised as a male in the British Air Force The British are what are referred to as ”Darwinists meaning that they rely on genetically altered animals for weapons and transportation Leviathan is the name of the genetically engineered hydrogen based whale aircraft on which Deryn is stationed The heart of the story is Clankers vs the DarwinistsAs Scott Westerfeld points out the beauty of steampunk is that it combines past with future There is a lot of historical fact in this book which keeps it interesting but with a futuristic flairFor me Deryn made this book she was charming and funny This is a uote from Deryn when thinking about the chemical makeup of water “It'd always seemed a bit suspect to her that two gases mixed up made a liuid” Deryn is constantly spouting out funny phrases like ”wee beasties” and cursing ”jumping spiders” Alek was eually likeable but for me not as relatable since he is male I had to award Leviathan with one extra half point because there is a TAZMANIAN TIGER named Taza You can’t go wrong with a Tasmanian tiger I mean come on it doesn’t get much cooler than that Dear Mr Westerfeld I hereby forgive you for writing The Uglies Trilogy ‘Oh no’ you may say ‘there is no forgiveness needed’ But yes I insist it is needed Trust me it really isMy one word to describe Leviathan Juicy steampunky awesomeness – that is all one word I swear4 12 STARS Leviathan Leviathan #1 Scott WesterfeldIt is the cusp of World War I and all the European powers are arming up The Austro Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers diesel driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry Their Leviathan is a whale airship and the most masterful beast in the British fleetAleksander Ferdinand prince of the Austro Hungarian Empire is on the run His own people have turned on him His title is worthless All he has is a battle torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of menMeanwhile Deryn a commoner girl is staying with her brother Jaspert in London Her father died in a ballooning accident and her mother and aunts want her to grow up as a proper lady Deryn dreams of joining the British Air Service and to serve on one of the great air beasts In order to do so she must pose as a boy Dylan Sharp To pass the starting exam she goes aloft with a Huxley a jellyfish like creature which uses hydrogen to float to prove her air worthiness However a storm hits while she is aloft severely tossing Deryn and the Huxley about and they narrowly survive—she is forced to cut the Huxley loose from its mooring in order to avoid crashing into a nearby building This results in Deryn and the Huxley being blown out over the North Sea; she is thrilled when she and the Huxley are rescued by the Leviathan the most famous of the air beasts a massive ecosystem comprising many different animals but based largely on a whale She is inducted into the crew of the Leviathan and makes friends with the 'Monkey Luddite' Newkirk The Leviathan's mission is to transport a top British boffin or scientist and a secret package to Constantinople Deryn is surprised to learn the boffin is a woman Dr Nora Barlow and is afraid Barlow will discover her secretIn the air over Europe the Leviathan comes under attack from German airplanes The crew fights back and defeats the planes but not before the great whale's hydrogen bladder is severely punctured The airship crash lands in Switzerland on the very glacier where Alek's group is hiding Alek and Volger witness the crash but Volger insists they do nothing to interfere as they will risk giving away their position to the Germans or being captured by the BritishAlek is unable to stomach letting the crew of the Leviathan suffer out on the ice and secretly leaves the fortress to bring medicine to the crew of the fallen ship The first person he finds is an unconscious Deryn who had fallen from the rigging during the crash Alek revives her and claims unconvincingly to be a Swiss villager Deryn is suspicious of him and sounds the alarm resulting in Alek's capture Alek continues to insist he is just a bystander trying to help but the captain refuses to release him and instead leaves him under Deryn's charge The secret cargo brought by Dr Barlow is revealed to be eggs of some kind though most were destroyed in the crashAlek's family comes to his rescue and battle almost erupts between the two sides but Deryn's uick thinking in bringing Alek to the front and holding him as a hostage brings everyone together to talk under a flag of truce Realizing their differences are outweighed by their similarities Alek offers a sizable chunk from their food storage so the ship can replenish its hydrogen supply and take off again However as they travel back to the Leviathan two German zeppelins appear and send out commandos to capture them Unfortunately one of the zeppelins escapes and the Stormwalker is severely damaged by an aerial bomb making it impossible to stand up and repair For any YA fans looking for a new fun and imaginative adventure to fill the Harry Potter sized void in your lives I give you LeviathanBeware the Clanker RevolutionIt's the year 1914 and Austrian prince Alek has just learned that his parents have been murdered Instead of being allowed time to grieve he is forced to flee his country with only a handful of men loyal to him As his birthright represents a direct threat to the Clanker army's uest for power the fifteen year old Alek has been targeted for assassination On the run the young prince tries valiantly to find a way to prevent a war by ending the conflict Behold the Darwinist EvolutionIn contrast Deryn Sharp doesn't try to avoid conflict she thrives on it So much so that the 15 year old girl masuerades as a boy just so she can join the British Air Service Now she finds herself swept away to a new home filled with extraordinary genetically altered creatures As the young girl fights alongside the Darwinists in their battle against the Clankers she proves many times over that the most powerful weapon at her disposal is her mind Leviathan was the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time One thing that struck me was the sheer creativity Scott Westerfeld displayed in establishing this alternate reality version of World War I The Clanker army which includes Germany Austria and the Ottoman Empire possesses a wide variety of steam powered monstrosities that march into war What was truly impressive was Westerfeld's ability to not only describe the various machines' appearances but to even provide such fluid descriptions as to how they operate The Darwinists comprised of Britain France and Russia feature even imaginative weapons genetically manufactured beasties that are crossbreeds of various animals and scientifically engineered to possess useful abilities my favorite being the talking Message Lizards Such a perfect blend of the natural and the mechanical makes Westerfeld's world a truly rich and elaborate settingOf course a book that takes place in an exciting world still suffers if the characters aren't interesting but fortunately Westerfeld gives us a cast that manages to be even compelling than the wonders surrounding them Alek is altruistic yet somewhat spoiled He is stoic in the loss of his parents but his emotions still get the better of him at times Deryn is also an extremely likable character She is spirited and strong but often also reveals a much softer side especially her affection towards the beasties that most others only see as tools Deryn's swashbuckling ways led me to almost cheer out loud on than one occasion Westerfeld pulls off an amazing trick giving us two young leads who are wise beyond their years yet also talk and act in such a way that they are perfectly believable as teenagers While these two lead characters are captivating enough to carry the book on their own fortunately they don't have to Westerfeld also gives us an enjoyable supporting cast as well Particularly engaging is Dr Nora Barlow a British scientist who possesses not only a bubbly disposition but also a brilliant and observant mind that rivals even that of a certain well known British detective Another enthralling player in this drama is Count Volger the loyalist who becomes Alek's father figure Volger is gruff but also noble and his cunning and shrewdness make us very grateful that he is on Alek's side Truthfully the supporting characters in this book are interesting than the stars of many other booksOn the surface the story is a fast paced adventure but there are many other themes that play out as well The persecution the Darwinists suffer from those who label them godless A soldier's torment over whether to follow orders or do what they truly feel is right The fallacy of gender and national stereotypes Mature themes are woven into a young adult adventure to add layers of depth to the storyUltimately once I finished reading this book I only had one complaintI wish the book never had to end