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.
©2009 Scott Westerfeld; (P)2009 SImon & Schuster
In pursuit of truth, justice, and an end to spoilers!
I took a chance on this and by the end I was having a great time! I’m another one who picked this up during a $4.95 sale, and I’ll definitely be getting the following books.
This is chocked full of action and steampunky details! The two main characters begin their adventures on opposing sides of the onset of an alternate World War I. Both become immediately embroiled in the brewing conflict -- steampunk style of course! But this isn’t just about dry battles. The characters are likeable and things move at a quick pace. There was one section about a third of the way through where things felt a little mired down in mechanical details, but that’s about my only complaint. I really liked how the author set up two separate steampunk cultures to go with the opposing sides of the war. It works very well in the context of the story.
This is the first book in a young adult trilogy, but still a lot of fun for an adult. I’m a woman in my 30’s and really enjoyed it. The narrator juggled a host of European accents very well, and his performance added a lot to the experience! The story comes to a reasonable stopping point even though it’s part of a series. You can see where things are headed in the next book, but won’t be left dangling with a cliffhanger.
Mommy of twins
Being a big fan of Westerfeld's other series such as the Uglies, Peeps and the Midnighters; it was a about time that I got around to the Leviathan series and as expected, Mr. Westerfeld came through once again. A fascinating read from start to finish, LEVIATHAN is a steampunk/biopunk world loosely based on occurrences that took place in Europe around WWI.
The two major payers that dominate the story are 15 year olds who both are living a secret, that if found out could cost them everything. Deryn is a young British soldier who shows great skill and promise, over and above that of, ehem... his peers, as an airman. Of course there is a catch, well; young Deryn Sharp is actually a girl, only pretending to be a boy to follow her dream of being an airman. Needless to say impersonating a male and deceiving the military is no small offence, if found out. Then there's Aleksandar Ferdinand, the prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who finds himself on the run after his parents are assassinated as a trigger to starting the war. Now he and a few loyal staff/friends/family must run; keeping Alek's true identity hidden is a matter of life and death for the young prince, as it seems everyone is out to use him as a political paw or end his existence all together.
Of course the two teen paths cross and that's when things really start to get interesting. LEVIATHAN is a fun fast paced read with bunches of action and in a true blend of steampunk and biopunk, expect to see lots of creative contraptions, living and steam. With the British Darwinist holding Darwinism in high esteem, their impressive airship, the Leviathan, is compiled of "blending" the thread-lifes of multiple animals, creating a living breathing and even eating flying ship, wherein even the weapons are of organic animal makeup. But what's a good steampunk without the steam?.. So then we have the "Clankers" or the German and Austro-Hungarian Empire, who are disgusted by the Darwinian creations, and choose to utilize steam and iron machines and weaponry. For me, that was a unique and really interesting idea on its own; to have two opposing super powers fighting with such completely different sources of ammunition. Which is better?.. Animal-hybrid or Steam-machine??
Alan Cumming's narration is so very impressive, a real treat. With all the different accents and languages, I'm really pleased with my decision to get this book in audio format. I'd recommend LEVIATHAN to anyone looking to embark on an interesting and entertaining adventure of creativity. Now I'm off to get my hands on book #2.
My 9-year-old son and I listened to Leviathan on our daily commute. I thoroughly enjoyed it, while he loved it - so much so that he insisted we needed to listen to the second book in the series immediately afterward.
I love reading and listening to books!
Leviathan is a wonderful tale of an Austrian prince (Alek) and an English girl posing as a boy (Deryn/Dylan) so she can join the airforce. The fantastic creatures and machines just bring this story to the front of any line-up. I am reading the sequel (Behemoth) in hardcover and you just lose the personality of a lot of the characters. Alan Cummings voices are wonderful and bring the book to life. Darwinists follow the exaggerated work of Charles Darwin while the Clankers use futuristic war machines. Stormwalkers versus Elephantines, Air Beasts versus Land Frigates! Battles that should be in a movie! I love this book from start to finish.
This is a great book with a brilliant story and excellent performance.
5 stars overall for a wonderful story and performance.
This book is a gem, Cumming brings the characters to life in his narration. The plot moves at a very good pace. If you like steampunk, pick it up.
On the road quite a bit either solo or with kids in the car. Love finding entertainment for that broad range.
I'm not a re-listener, but my children have listened to it again more than once.
Alan Cumming is absolutely amazing in this experience. His pan-european accents were enjoyed by myself and my children. They have insisted for me to get more audiobooks that he has narrated.
Even though we have gone through many other audiobooks together, this series stands out with my children and me. We still repeat quotes to each other from this book from time to time.
Oh man, when I picked this up I had no idea what FUN I was getting into. Alan Cumming has by far and away delivered one of the absolute best performances I have experienced with Audible. This book and its sequels are packed with witty dialog (full of accents!) and tons of action and Alan Cumming narrates with such enthusiasm and skill that you just can't help but be drawn into all of it.
Aside from the narration, I absolutely love every bit of the story itself. As another reviewer states, you've got to get the physical copy to enjoy the illustrations if you're a fan, but there's so much to love here even without the eye candy -- clever characters you want to root for, a fascinating spin on real-world history, and of course, the beasties and contraptions. This is a wonderful specimen of alternate history and the steampunk genre, with a squick of romance thrown in. It is marketed as a young-adult series and there's definitely nothing wrong or inappropriate with that, but I'm an adult and I enjoyed the hell out of it. This series is top of my list, not just for Audiobooks, but for books in general. Do not miss out!
Wonderful alternate history of preWW I. Positive male and feme protagonists for kids to relate to. But Alan Cumming's accent proved too difficult for the middle school children with whom I tried to listen to this.
Midwest, USA native.
To anyone that loves a steampunk twist on history and a sweet romance. No trash here.
Alan is fantastic!! I would try other books by him just because he does such a great job.
Wondrous alternative history
The wild count. He shows a great analytical mind and fits what would be expected.
He understands the European slang and it sounds right coming from him.
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