Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

A steampunk adventure set in World War I where our heroes is a (fictional) son of Arch Duke of Austro-Hungarian empire on the run and a girl crossing dressing to as a boy to be in the royal airforce? Where do I sign up?

“Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, 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 World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.”

This is one of those books that I found while walking around the library. And by book I mean audiobook. The title had caught my eye and because I have come to despise the radio, I figured how about an audiobook? And when I saw that Alan Cumming was the reader and I said “oh hell yeah!” I got some looks at the library for that statement.

Anyway, on to the story.

This was sort of my first taste of steam punk. And it was fun adventure. The characters are strong and unique, with Scott Westerfeld presenting us a story that is full of mystery and action. The story shifts back and forth from our two hears, Alek and Deryn. And these two characters come from opposite words but they are surprisingly similar. Alek from a land of royals and Deryn a commoner, they are both stubborn and strong willed, determined to change their fates. And neither of them thought that they would need the other to do so.

I thought the most clever part of this story is how Westerfeld made the distinction between the British and their Allies and the Germans which were not by nations but by their technology. It was the Darwinist versus the Klankers. The Darwinist manipulating the DNA of animals to make great beasts that they use for airships and boats and smaller “beasties” for menial work, while Klanker are what you would expect from classic steampunk tales. You see the philosophical differences that are presented with each set of characters.

I honestly don’t have a negative thing to say about this tale. All the characters were fun and intriguing and the action was well written and I couldn’t help but to feel as a part of the story. Of course, it helped that Alan Cumming was reading the tale and I could listen to that man read a names out of a phone book. He helped breathe life into characters that were amazingly written and story that was light and fun, but at the same time filled with touching emotion scenes. No wasted scenes. No wasted words. My favorite kind of story.

For those of you who haven’t really read any steampunk, this is a good introduction. The story is easy to get into and the end will leave you wanting to read the next in the series.