Scott Westerfeld’s BEHEMOTH saved my sanity a few weekends ago. I was stuck in traffic on I-66. Need I say more? Listening to Alan Cumming narrate a great book can make inching forward at a mile an hour almost bearable.

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.


Matthew MacNish said...

I thought Behemoth was the sequel to Leviathan. Is that not what's going on here? Or am I just confused. What's the third one going to be called? Collosus? Gargantuan?

I"m kidding. I haven't read these yet, but I intend to. They sound amazing. Plus they will probably make great movies.

Angie Smibert said...

Yep, Behemoth is sequel to Leviathan, but he only made a trailer (that I've found) for the first book. The first two books of the trilogy are named after really big ships--so you might not actually be kidding.

Erinn said...

I LOVED Leviathan. And I fell in love with Scott Westerfeild after that. He can write ANYTHING, seriously ANYTHING.

It dripped with creativity and intelligence on every page.


Kelly Bryson said...

Leviathan was wonderful and my 10 yo son LOVED it as much as I did. It's on the list!

Kelly Bryson said...

Behemoth is on the list, that is.

Krispy said...

I loved Leviathan! I've already borrowed Behemoth from the library, and I can't wait to dive in. Unfortunately, I have other books due first. :P

Anonymous said...

That trailer is gorgeous! Just read LEVIATHAN last week, so now I can't wait to get a hold of BEHEMOTH. I hate that I missed Scott Westerfield at Lemuria last month. :(

I think I would prefer to feed my war machines. Machinery and I don't always get along.

Also, was anyone else reminded of the Little Golden Book, Bert's Hall of Great Inventions? I LOVED that book when I was little.'s_Hall_of_Great_Inventions

Jemi Fraser said...

I LOVED Leviathan! Haven't read Behemoth yet, but am looking forward to it. Westerfield's imagination is incredible! :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I absolutely adore these books. And I want my own messenger lizard. :)

Heather Anastasiu said...

Just read Behemoth this weekend and completely agree about his amazing use of language. Just like with "bogus" and "bubbly" in the Uglies series, he again came up with a whole culture of language for these characters. Westerfeld is freaking amazing.