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Behemoth Audiobook

Behemoth

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Audible Editor Reviews

Set during World War I, Behemoth tells a steampunk-esque alternate history. As in real life, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggers the conflict, but in Behemoth, the archduke has a secret heir whose life must be preserved at all costs. That is not the only historical divergence from reality, however — not by a long shot. Behemoth features a familiar sociopolitical landscape but radically different scientific one. In this world, the British and other Allies are known as “Darwinists”, as their knowledge of biological sciences is super-advanced, to the point where instead of airplanes, they have giant, living airships (such as the eponymous Behemoth), and instead of something like walkie-talkies, they have messenger lizards. The Germans, meanwhile, are known as the “Clankers”, and they have eschewed the use of the biological creatures in favor of mechanical might; so where the Darwinists might have a giant, living airship, the Clankers would have giant mechs and other mechanical marvels.

Behemoth, the second book in the series (following 2009’s Leviathan), takes the protagonists — British midshipman Deryn Sharp, and Prince Alek, heir to the throne of Austria — to Constantinople, a city where the Darwinist and Clanker philosophies collide. There, the two are thrust into an explosive political machine that threatens to destroy all they’ve worked for, even as both Darwinist and Clanker factions attempt to sway the Ottoman Empire into joining their side in the conflict.

Every bit as full of a sense of wonder as its predecessor, Behemoth is a thrilling, masterful piece of fiction, a sterling example of what alternate history, steampunk, and speculative fiction is capable of. Peppered with enough details from real history to lend the book a rich authenticity, Westerfeld spins the story in wildly new directions at the same time. Although Behemoth is categorized as a young adult novel, it’s really a must-listen for anyone who enjoys speculative and/or historical fiction — no matter their age.

Veteran and highly regarded actor of the stage and screen Alan Cumming’s performance is nothing short of enthralling. His Scottish brogue lightly accents his narration, but disappears or transforms into something else entirely when voicing the dialogue of the Austrian Prince Alek and the German Clankers and the other characters. Likewise, he does an excellent job portraying the teenage Deryn, a girl passing herself off as a boy. Somewhat subdued, without much vocal trickery, Cumming’s narration is simply a pleasure to listen to.

A brilliant book plus brilliant narration equals a surefire contender for audiobook of the year. —John Joseph Adams

Publisher's Summary

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

©2010 Scott Westerfeld (P)2010 Simon and Schuster Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Melissa LAKE ELSINORE, CA, United States 12-16-15
    Melissa LAKE ELSINORE, CA, United States 12-16-15 Member Since 2016
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    "So much action and adventure!"

    This whole series is amazing, and I can't say ENOUGH about Cumming's narration and Westerfeld's wit and light touch in regards to descriptors. Most often when author's create a world they feel obligated to the reader to explain *everything* and it can really bog down a story. Westerfeld does not suffer from this, and this series is a brilliant mix of action, adventure, stay true characters, and a gas bag of imagination. Wonderful listen that wouldn't have been nearly as good without Cumming's gaggle of voices in my ears. He's a master of accents and I couldn't imagine this book without him!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 05-18-15
    David 05-18-15
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    "Excellent steam punk!"

    I was hooked with Leviathan and happy to write another positive review for book #2 in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaager Good 04-05-15
    Jaager Good 04-05-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Decent bridge"

    A couple interesting twists and some fun additions, but slogged at moments. Certainly missed the atmosphere of the first novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah 03-14-15
    Leah 03-14-15
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    "Engaging story"

    Alan Cumming does a magnificent job giving unique voices to all of the characters, and the author provides us with a story that is never boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chelly Las Vegas 04-16-14
    Chelly Las Vegas 04-16-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Compelling somehow"
    What made the experience of listening to Behemoth the most enjoyable?

    Alan Cumming is the one of the best narrators. He brings life and interest and accents to the characters that wouldn't be there either way.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Behemoth?

    All I can really think of was when Dillon/Deryn was messing with the kraken nets. Like, how crazy is that, just in general.


    Have you listened to any of Alan Cumming’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I heard the first book in this series read by Alan and he is just excellent.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I like how awesome and strong Dillon/Deryn is. She's just great and is always trying to do her best.


    Any additional comments?

    It's such a weird but familiar story. It's a good time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer TROY, MI, United States 12-07-13
    Kindle Customer TROY, MI, United States 12-07-13
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    "Fun Flights, Flying and"
    Where does Behemoth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Most fun audiobook I've listened to yet! The story sucked me in. I think any girl who's been underestimated can relate to Daryn.


    What does Alan Cumming bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved his accents and voices! As each character spoke you heard not just their accents but the character. He was really playing about a dozen roles and he made them all come alive!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! I think I did :)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey BREWER, ME, United States 06-14-13
    Joey BREWER, ME, United States 06-14-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Quite possibly BETTER than the first book!"

    Leviathan left me with baited breath- wondering what the Barking Spiders was going to happen! Behemoth is a great follow up - and I'm about to start the third book now! In short - if you like well written historical fiction - this is a great series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Seattle, WA, United States 01-22-13
    Nicole Seattle, WA, United States 01-22-13 Member Since 2005

    nikchick

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    "The second book in the series does not disappoint"
    Any additional comments?

    Once again, Alan Cumming does an excellent job as the reader. I also appreciate the author's afterword breaking down the history from the fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KL 01-14-13
    KL 01-14-13
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    "Fun for listening in the car."
    What made the experience of listening to Behemoth the most enjoyable?

    Alan Cumming is the man of a million voices - a great narrator for a series with characters from all over the globe. The books have an exciting, fast moving storyline that makes for good commute-listening.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dr. Barlowe, Alec, and Deryn are my favorites. I also like the perspicacious loris.


    What does Alan Cumming bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    All the great accents. He really helps develop the characters and the plot with his reading (especially the really exciting scenes!)


    Any additional comments?

    The cliffhanger ending really makes me look forward to listening to the next book in the series. Off to download it now! These books are a little bit short but definitely worth the credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelby SILVERDALE, WA, United States 10-25-12
    Shelby SILVERDALE, WA, United States 10-25-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Even better than the first!"

    I love this series! The writing is creative and extends the imagination. The narration is fabulous and brings the characters to life. Leviathan had me hooked, but Behemoth is even better. Don't miss this one!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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