Even if I’d been listening to the book in my normal reading venue—the gym—I would loved BEHEMOTH as much as I did LEVIATHAN. The latter is the first book in Westerfeld’s Steampunk series. I won’t give any plot spoilers, but the setting for both books should intrigue you enough to run out and get them.
It’s the outbreak of World War I. The world, however, is alternate one. Technology and genetic engineering developed early in the Victorian era. The British and other Darwinists have based their technology (and society) on biological “machines” (aka, fabricated beasties). The Germans and the other Clankers base their technology on steam power and mechanical creatures.
This fabulous trailer for LEVIATHAN should give you a good taste for the novels:
Westerfeld alternates between the viewpoints of Dylan / Deryn —a British girl masquerading as boy so she can serve in the navy/air service—and Alec, the son of the assassinated Archduke. The pace is fast. The worlds of both Darwinist and Clanker are fascinating to say the least. And the voice—particularly of Dylan—is fresh and engaging.
I think LEVIATHAN and BEHEMOTH would appeal to both boys and girls. And adults. Barking spiders! It’s a genuinely fun series to read and/or listen to. (Did I mention the great use of language? Westerfeld invented a clean vernacular for the airmen to use.) I can’t wait for the next one.
So do you oil your war machines? Or do you feed them? (If you didn't get this, you didn't watch the trailer, did you?) What other middle grade or young adult Steampunk (or sci fi / adventure stories) have you read and loved? Do they have both strong female and male characters?
btw, have you taken a peak at the Class of 2K11's brand spanking new website? Fellow Leaguer Julia Karr and I are members, and we are kicking off our year with a big thank you to the Class of 2K10. Drop by and enter to win a whole slew of books.
The League of Extraordinary Writers is a group of debut YA authors who write science fiction and dystopian works. The ten of us have works that run the gamut of near-future mind control to far-future space travel, but they do have one thing in common: a future where the Earth we know now is twisted, gone.