West Regional Reads: Leviathan

*This blog post got Cheenu a ticket in the prize drawing for our Teen Summer Contest. Click here to find out how to enter!*

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Steam-powered Tanks and Flying Whales
Leviathan is a science fiction book that is an alternate portrayal of World War I. It is about the Darwinists, or Great Britain and its allies, which use beasts that have been artificially created by the famous Charles Darwin, who has discovered DNA. The Clankers, or the Austria-Hungary empire, use steam-powered machines. The machines can walk, fly, and more through the use of steam.

A British girl by the name of Deryn wants to join the British Air Force, and disguises herself as a boy to join. She works on the warship Leviathan, a flying whale. After war erupts between the Darwinists and the Clankers, the Leviathan is attacked by a squadron of Clanker biplanes. Deryn and the crew destroy them all, but the ship is so wounded that they crash in the mountains of Switzerland.

At the same time, the prince of Austria, Aleksander Ferdinand, has escaped from his kingdom after his father (Archduke Ferdinand) is assassinated and the whole country has revolted. The country joins the Germans to attack Serbia. Serbia has been blamed for the assassination of the duke. Alek has only a walking tank, a loyal crew of men, and his wits to outsmart their German hunters, who along with Austria are trying to kill them. His loyal fencing teacher, Count Volger, had helped his father make a castle in the Switzerland mountains in case a war erupted and the royal family needed to escape. That is where they go.

The castle is fully stocked with supplies that could last a couple of decades. When the Leviathan crashes in the mountains, Alek tries to help them, resulting in suspicion against him by the crew. His help couldn’t have come at a better time, though. The kaiser (the leader of Germany) is trying to destroy both the Leviathan and Alek, and will stop at nothing to accomplish this. Will Alek and the crew of the Leviathan be able to trust each other enough to join together, even though both countries they represent are at war? Or will they get incinerated by the kaiser’s zeppelins?

The book is a good read for those who like science fiction, action, adventure, and thrills. The book is not a good read for those who are into realistic books, because the book, even though it tries to tie with the actual war and people, it has a lot of fiction elements. A highlight of the book is the technology and creatures of the countries. It also makes you feel as if you are in the shoes of the characters through detailed description. In my opinion, this book is a 9 out of 10.

Teen Reviewer: Cheenu, West Regional Library

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