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From the Archives: Book 11: "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld

Book 11: "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld
Verdict: Interesting read, I'm curious to see where the rest of the series goes.

Having only read the "Uglies" series by Scott Westerfeld, I didn't go in with high expectations for the start of his new series, "Leviathan". But Westerfeld surprised me. In this new young adult novel, Westerfeld creates an interesting world that mixes fantasy/sci-fi with actual historical events*. On the brink of World War I, the story follows two characters, a boy and a girl. The boy, Aleksander is the Austrian Prince, now fleeing for his life after the assassination of his parents. The girl, Deryn Sharp is English and posing as a boy so that she can join the air service.

Similar to actual history, Europe has been split into two factions. However, the sides have new names. Instead of the Allies, you have the Darwinists. The Darwinists of this story have taken Darwin's theory of evolution and used it to their advantage. Their "technology" is actually just using the theory of evolution to create animals that will serve their purposes. For instance, the Leviathan is an airship that is actually a large animal. An animal that has been engineered to create hydrogen to float itself and all of its passengers.
In the same vein, the Axis are now the Tinkers (I think, I have to admit- I've forgotten their name), who have created elaborate machines to get them around Europe. Unlike cars, their machines are more like robots that one sits inside. These elaborate machines can traverse land quickly. For obvious reasons, neither believes that the other's system is reliable.

However, while floating over Europe, the two characters are forced into cooperation for their own survival.
This first book, is mostly an introduction story, getting the reader acquainted with the two worlds and the characters. As far as action goes, not much occurs: aside from a couple of escape battles. The idea is incredibly creative, and I love that it teaches you some history, though admittedly, facts have been changed in some areas to make the story work. I'm intrigued to see where the rest of the series will go.

* I have since realized, much like the Parasol Protectorate Series, that this series is Steampunk, one of my new favorite fiction genres.


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