Reviewed by Stephen Shaw (Antioch Midwest)
Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy is a sweeping steampunk alternative vision of World War I, complete with Clankers (Central Powers) using walking mechanical steam-powered tanks, and the Darwinists (Entente Powers) who use genetically synthetic living beings (talking ‘message lizards,’ living hydrogen-breathing airships primarily made out of a giant whale, and more). The trilogy, Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath, follows the lives of a young Scottish Airman, who is actually a girl who has to pretend to be a boy to be accepted. An uneasy alliance arises between her crew and a stranded Clanker boy, who turns out to be the only son of the recently murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and thus is the catalyst for the world conflict.
The stories over the course of the three books spin tales of diplomatic intrigue, revolution and counter-revolution, travels to Constantinople, Japan, New York and Mexico, and plenty of battles both in the air and sea. Impossible yet believable genetic creations swarm through the pages of this series, and the two heroes and their companions discover truths about themselves and their own assumptions. History is rewritten, mostly for the better, and this YA series will appeal to all readers.
Westerfeld is also known for his Uglies series: Uglies, Pretties, Specials and Extras.
[Reprinted with permission from booksDOTaum. They’re always accepting book reviews to share with the Antioch community!]