Two opposing forces are on the brink of war. The Clankers – who put their faith in machinery – and the Darwinists – who have begun evolving living creatures into tools. Prince Aleksandar, the would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, comes from a family of Clankers, and travels the country in a walker, a heavily-fortified tank on legs. Meanwhile Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy, works for the British Empire, crewing the ultimate flying machine: an airship made of living animals. Now, as Alek flees from his own people, and Deryn crash-lands in enemy territory, their lives are about to collide…
I’d been meaning to read this book for a while, so I was very excited to win a copy of it in @WondrousReads‘ Twitter competition. The combination of alternate history and steampunk vs Darwinism inspired biological engineering sounded like it was going to be just my thing, and I was not disappointed.
The book tells the story of two teenagers Alek, brought up a Clanker – the steampunk half of society who use amazing machinery, and Deryn, a Darwinist – they biologically engineer all of their equipment, cross breeding species to create everything they need. Alek is the son of the newly assassinated Archduke, his protectors are trying to keep him from capture which would lead ultimately to his death too. Deryn is desperate to fly so has disguised herself as a boy to be accepted to train as an airman. Their paths end up crossing, and they have to work out how to get along when their views on everything are different.
I loved the plot of the book, and the way it was structured – the point of view changes between Deryn and Alek every two chapters, this worked really well for me. I quite often end up liking one character or one plot line best in books, with Leviathan I was equally engaged with both Deryn’s story and Alek’s story and I liked the anticipation of moving between the two.
The way the book is written is wonderfully vivid, particularly the descriptions of the Darwinist creatures and the way the work. In addition to this the book is illustrated by Keith Thompson. His art is gorgeous and works so well with the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed Leviathan. It’s the first book in a series, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and I’ll be catching up with Scott Westerfeld’s other books too.
Leviathan is published in paperback by Simon & Schuster in the UK priced £6.99