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
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
I came upon this book just a the right time for me. I had just finished two long books, one that was silly and a little boring and one that was really good, but very serious.
This is easy listening. The characters are in there early teens, determined but naive. They have not yet been ruined by adults. You have the Clangers, who are a steampunk society and one of the lead characters is a clanger and then you have the Darwinist and one of the main characters is a Darwinist.
The Clangers are basically mechanically inclined who built walking battleships and all things mechanical. Everything the Darwinist have are living. The make fabricated animals as there battleships and a variety of other things. Each side thinks the other side is disgusting.
I love all thing biological. West of Eden by Harry Harrison is one of my favorite books. It is not available in audible, but you can get Neal Asher's The Skinner, which if full of all types of biological monstrosities. Also Dawn by Anne McCaffrey.
The same night I finished the book they had a piece on the news about scientist today who are growing body parts outside the body.
The book is well written just over 8 hours long and fun. I will be getting the rest in the series.
audible listener!! :o)
Great story! Scott Westerfield writes really wonderful characters who carry everything.
The plot was nice but a bit simple. So I liked the world he invented (all the beasties!) and the characters the best. The dialog is hilarious!!
Oh yeah, and then I bought the next two in the trilogy!!
If you like steampunk, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. If you don't like steampunk, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. The characters are vibrant and likable. The setting is fascinating - even moreso if you have any knowledge of WWI.
Alan Cumming gives a genius performance. Each character has their own voice and you never get confused as to who is speaking. The accents and delivery are spot on.
My only problem with the book is that it has no ending. Not even a cliffhanger - the book just stops. I'm pretty sure that Westerfeld wrote a 1200 page book and the publisher said "no no, we need a trilogy!" To which he replied "fine!" And cut his manuscript neatly into thirds. I was literally howling at my car stereo when the story ended.
This is the reason the book doesnt get 5 stars overall, but I will definitely get the other 2 books.
Sculptor and costumer
I love the scenery, the beasties, the boffins, Deryn Sharp, the alternate steampunk history and everything else about this book.
this is something adults and young adults both can love. this is not trash writing and the adventure has so much to offer in terms of getting lost in a story. I feel everything about this story was handled with care. it is not slap-dash. if you need to just get lost for a while, give this a try.
Well developed main characters. Secondary characters were developed just enough without wasting time and words on unnecessary paragraphs. The story and technology are well thought out and interesting. It's YA but an entertaining diversion from reality.
This was my first experience with narrator Alan Cummings. His performance was very good. It did not grab me right away but I warmed up quickly. His characterizations make each person easily identifiable. He narrates all three in this series and there is excellent continuity on narration (I've listened to series before where the same narrator actually pronounces proper nouns differently from book to book in the same series! Very annoying).
I didn't do much for the first twenty years of my life, spent the next twenty in the military, and the twenty after that in college. Then, I mostly retired.
Yes, I enjoyed the imaginative story line, and the author has taken care to expand the story to include information needed to make this alternative universe understandable.
I like stories about young women who are self possessed and confident, and the main character in this story is believable.
I really enjoyed the interplay between all of the characters. The story line was simple and uncomplicated, but very imaginative. This is a story for young people, about young people interacting with the world. I can imagine just about any preadolescent or early teen girl getting into the story, and what appears to be the series that will come from it.
If you have a preteen girl who is imaginative, and I believe that most are, and you do not object to feeding her imagination, this would be a good choice for her. Young men will likely enjoy it as well.
I typically like drama in the narrator, but Alan Cumming was overly dramatic to the point of distraction. And his mock-German accent was inconsistent and unrealistic. Ugh. The story itself was an unsettling mixture of admiration for the teen heros, painting them first as naive and then as smarter than the surrounding adults. I typically enjoy fiction aimed at preteens and teens, but in this case, I found it a waste of my listening time. And the final straw was that the story ended in the middle. Clearly a setup for a sequel, but without enough resolution to make one feel that they had arrived at anything other than a disappointing break in the story. And if you want to hear the end, you better buy the next installment. I'll save my money and my credits.
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.
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.
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