Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Adventures in badassery!

Scott Westerfeld, the author of the fun, body-image-centered trilogy,
Uglies, Pretties, Specials, the vampire series, Peeps, and puzzle-horror series, Midnighters, has a new book out, the beginning to a very promising new series. Leviathan, a steam-punk retelling of WWI, is a rollicking start to what I'm hoping is going to be Westerfeld's best series yet! Perspective switches every two chapters between an unseated prince (Aleks), who has been humbled by his parents' deaths, and Derryn, a cross-dressing girl in the British Royal Navy. Driving both characters is the need to keep their true identities secret, and when their paths cross, their central tensions blend in compelling and juicy (yes, juicy) ways.

Like all Westerfeld's novels,
Leviathan kicks off the action immediately, and I was hooked from page one. This world of Clankers (large, mechanical war vehicles) and Darwinist Beasties (hybrid war animal-machines) is so much fun that even though I was seriously pissed when I realized that this book was the first in a series (I shake my fist at you, Scott Westerfeld!!! Now I have to wait???) I can't say I'm not excited to spend more time in this world. For those readers that enjoyed Hunger Games, His Dark Materials, or Eon, this book might be a go. Like Hunger Games, this book moves quickly. Like His Dark Materials it occurs in a world that is at once an alternate past and a possible future. And like Eon, it features a strong, cross-dressing lead, succeeding in a man's role.

I am a little embarrassed to admit I didn't actually read this... I listened to it on audio on the drive from Seattle to San Francisco, as read by the (badass) Alan Cummings (who does an AWESOME job, seriously, AMAZING) but I liked it so much I'm going to read a hard copy, too. I suggest you do, too!

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