Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This YA steampunk novel has been calling to me since it's arrival earlier in the school year. With my Alex committee service over, I'm finally able to read YA again! Yay! So my "to read" list should start shrinking soon, and you'll be reading lots of blog postings about YA books that have been the talk of the library world lately. Westerfeld is best known for his Uglies/Pretties/Specials/Extras series, but my fav is Peeps. I think it's one of the best vampire books out there.

I read somewhere that Westerfeld put a lot of money into this book to make sure the illustrations and design were exactly what he wanted. It reminded me a bit of Hugo Cabret because the illustrations really help tell the story. It's 1914 in an alternate Europe. Some things are the same--countries are at war, etc., but there are Darwinists and Clankers on the continent. Darwinists use evolutional theory to combine animals. The Leviathan is a huge airship that is really a whale that has its own ecosystem to survive. Celia help it steer and metal-eating bats and honey help it live. The Clankers are machinists who think Darwinists are crazy. Clankers believe that machines hold the key and invent huge fighting machines. Alek is the heir to the Austrian (Clanker) throne, even if he technically shouldn't be since his mother was common born. He is forced to go on the run in a Walker with a few instructors and servants and has to grow up fast. Deryn is a girl disguised as a boy because she wants to fly. She joins the crew of the Leviathan and the two main characters come together to save each other. The sequel is coming....

I was kinda disappointed that this book seems to be geared toward younger teens. I was hoping for a more adult-like romp for older teens and can see why some of my high school readers weren't too excited when I recommended this one. I think now I'll recommend it more to my freshmen readers.

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