Saturday, June 19, 2010


Leviathan, by Scott Westerfield
For quite a long time, I've loved steampunk. The artistry, the aura, everything about a past that might have (though likely ought not!) have been as a concept I much enjoy. I find it simply satisfying, fascinating, intriguing... My love for steampunk goes far back.
Not too long ago I came across the novel Leviathan, by Westerfield. It's what I would consider a (as you likely guessed) top-notch steampunk novel, and though it was written for a youn ger spectrum of readers/steampunk fanatics, itis nonetheless quite engaging despite (or, possibly on account of) its simplicity.
Set in an alternate WWI, it follows Deryn Sharp of Englad, a girl who couldn't be held to earth (in more ways than one) and Alek Ferdinand, son the famous Archduke, who finds himself to be an invaluable pawn in a complex, hazard ridden game of political chess. As one might guess, the two eventually meet (but in the interests of not spoiling the story I shall not explain exactly how), though initially, their relationship can't exactly be describebd as healthy.
In the world once seen by Westerfield, WWI has a much scarier spin; Charles Darwin of many years prior was not only an explorer, but a genetic egineer, the first person to study and modify DNA.
Years later the British are using his techniques to not only modify the traits of organisms, but also to customize them to their whims (slaughter!) and even create ecosystems, though I'd hate to give awway too much about theme. They refer to their beasts as "Fabs" short for fabricated.
They are know as the Darwinists, and their beasts strike fear into the hearts of their new enemies, the Clankers.
The Clankers are Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc., and are named on account of their gigantic machines. Bypassing treads (how boring and historically accurate!), the war machines of the Clankers are gigant things known as "Walkers" (although I think of them as 'mechs' instead) and as their name would imply, these are legged machines, that plod hill and dale belching banks of thick, black smoke. Outfitted for war with guns and cannons, they would truly be a terrifying sight to behold!
In all, Westerfield brilliantly wrote this book. Though I do believe it needed to be somewhat less predictable (and I'll be brutally honest- while Deryn didn't seem at all a terrible character- I rather liked her- she seemed a little cliched, the 'tough girl being a guy' stereotype), I enjoy how he keeps the book third person while sort of swapping viewpoints and personality. In the book are several excellent illustrations by Keith Thompson, who astoundingly illustrated a world crafted by Westerfield, truly bringing it to life in the most magnificent fashion possible.
In all, it's a rather good read that I can recommend, particularly if you enjoy steampunk, alternate histories, sci-fi, or adventure novels.
I rather enjoy all four.

Well, I've been tagged by a certain Zella, and now, I must tell six insane truths and a crazy lie, or or six extreme lies a single, mind-blowing truth.
I'll have them soon!


  1. The tournament is separated into a lower division for beginners, and an upper division for experienced and/or ranked players. Rankings are based off of a simple point system, 1 point rewarded to winners, 0.5 point for ties, 0 for losers.This is the first major event hosted by the club, organized by soon-to-be president of the Chess division of the club, Nestor Garcia a first-year Math major. A particularly passionate chess player himself, Nestor is excited for the tournament to begin, because he's going to be playing too. There are fourteen players who have shown up to participate in the event, and as the clock winds down, they make their way to the tables as the official roster is taped up.

  2. This is intriguing, Jourdie! I have never read any steampunk, but I do love alternative histories, sci fi, and adventures. I shall look into this one. Thanks! :)

  3. Thanks for your support! I look forward to following your blog as well!