Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: October 2010
ISBN: 978-1416971757

Source: e-book available from publisher

Behemoth (Leviathan) 
During an alternate history of World War I, this book picks up after Leviathan ends.  Prince Alek is being held prisoner aboard the Leviathan.  He and his men plan an escape when the ship reaches Istanbul, with the help of Deryn, who is still hiding her identity.  Both Alek and Deryn find themselves on dangerous missions among enemies.  Can the two find one another again and help to stop the war?

Things I Liked:
I'm really starting to love steampunk.  The fun way it clothes history and especially the note at the end of the book that explained what happened and what didn't, make it one of the best ways I know to learn history while being entertained.  Westerfeld has a gift for creating characters and an alternate world that seems plausible.  His creative vocabulary for the Darwinists and the Clankers and their slang always makes me adopt new words and phrases, most notably "barking spiders" and "bum-rags."  I was so glad also that the e-book ARC had the illustrations included.  These are gorgeous and completely capture the feel of the book.  Almost my favorite part of the whole series.  The story is quick and full of adventures and will surely appeal to both boys and girls alike looking for something that's a mix of fantasy, historical fiction, and action/adventure. 

This was nothing like Buckingham Palace, where Deryn had watched the changing of the Royal Lionesque Guard her first day in London.  That was four stories tall and as square as a cake.  But here the buildings were low and surrounded by colonnades, their arches decorated with checkerboards of black and white marble, as shiny as piano keys.  Steam pipes wound across the mosaicked walls lik message lizard tubes, sweating and huffing with the energies inside them. p 181 of ARC
As she drew, the whire and clatter of the machines around her, the sounds blending like the crash of distant waves.  Deryn wondered how the Clankers had managed it, translating questions into scatterings of holes in paper.  Did every wee sliver of knowledge have its own number?  The system was probably quicker than wandering through the ceiling-high shelves, but what other books might she have found, doing it herself? p 322 of ARC
Things I Didn't Like:
I kind of wish more had been resolved at the end, but I suppose that's what the next book is for!

Airborn and sequels by Kenneth Oppel

Larklight by Philip Reeve
Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Definitely read Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld first

s-factor: none
just some barking spiders

mrg-factor: none
one rather interesting kiss...

v-factor: ->->
there are definitely battles, though not a lot of gore

Overall rating: *****

I'm so excited for Scott Westerfeld to visit our local library this month!  Any of you fortunate enough to meet him before?
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Oooooh. Just picked this one up at the library. Sounds good.

    Oh, and I use Scott Westerfieldisms from the Uglies series all the time (most notably happy-making). He does have a way of worming his language into your vocabulary.

  2. I have Leviathan on my Steampunk Challenge List (although I haven't posted my participation in the Challenge to my blog yet!). This one may be one to add as well!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  3. Lucky you for getting to read this one already! And I can't wait to see him too. I hope it all works out for that to happen....

  4. Melissa, I totally say 'barking spiders' all the time now. Ok, not really, but I want to use the word 'barking' out of its normal context. It does get in your brain huh?

    jewelknits, for sure add this one to your list! It was just as good as the first.

    Suey, I'm still planning to get four tickets, so hopefully you'll get some no matter what!

  5. I totally love these books. I'm not such a huge fan of Westerfield's other stuff though. Can't wait for the next one!

  6. Lahni, I liked Westerfelds Uglies series, but in a different way I like this one. These are so fantastic though!


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