Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson (Illustrator) - Book Review #9

Thursday, March 11, 2010

by Scott Westerfeld,
Keith Thompson (Illustrator)

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-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 fleet.

Aleksandar 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 men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl 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 the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Leviathan is a carefully measured bland of alternative history and Steampunk with the elements of fantasy. It has stunning book design and breathtaking illustrations. Leviathan’s book design took me back to my childhood and made me remember books from my grandfather’s library that were published in 50th, 60th and 70th.

I love alternative history for how the skillful writer could mix the real history with the fantasy and you could never be sure where the fact has ended and where the tale has began. Scott Westerfeld definitely is a skillful writer. He was not only able to mix real history and fantasy, but he also created unforgettable, beautifully detailed world that you can see, feel, touch, smell and even taste.

Scott Westerfeld’s writing style was also very impressive. Shifting point of view between Alexandr and Deryn let the reader to find out more about the characters themselves, but also about Chlankers – Germans and Austro-Hungarians that created steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunitions; and Darwinists – British, French and Russians that custom-tailored – genetically altered animals to create ships and weapons.

This book is not only must read, but also must have for your on private library. Such a beautiful editions of those types of books tend to become classics in their own genre. And I could only hope that some day my own grandchildren would snick this book out of my library, as I myself used to take books from my grandfather’s library.


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