Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)
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Leviathan (Leviathan #1)

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  45,356 ratings  ·  4,770 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Simon Pulse
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Community Reviews

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Tatiana
Feb 03, 2010 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: existing Westerfeld fans, pre-teen boys
Like many of my friends, I've been looking forward to getting my hands on "Leviathan" for a while. It is so sad that after such a long wait I can't give this book more than 2 stars. And if I am being honest, I added second star for fabulous cover art and excellent illustrations (1 or 2 per chapter!). My low rating doesn't mean however that I would recommend NOT to read this book. I simply didn't care for it personally, for several reasons.

First, this book seems to be mistakenly classified as you...more
mark monday
this is a zippy, high-spirited breeze of a novel, aimed at the lucrative TROPE(1) audience - and with clear appeal for even younger folks. as far as characterization and narrative go, there is not much here that will suprise or challenge the reader...but the novel does have charm, lots of it. don't expect to get your mind blown, but it is certainly a pleasant way to spend a few hours. and there are many enjoyable elements in the now-almost-played-out use of TROPE(2): big clanky walking-machines,...more
Jeffrey Keeten
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles Darwin

The world of Leviathan set in 1914 is divided into Darwinists and Clankers. The Darwinists have evolved genetics to make animals more useful to humans. The Clankers have built their society on machinery technology. I love maps and Scott Westerfeld provided a great map to show how his imagined world has been divided up between the two ca...more
Jo
"A missing piece can be very bad for the puzzle, whether in the natural world, or politics, or here in the belly of an airship."

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
That’s what I want to know, Alek. That’s what I want to know.

High Points.
Deryn. Alek. This world… wooow, why doesn’t it exist yet?! Huxleys. Darwinists. Clankers. Flying wales. Cow farts. Trinkets&Diddies. Messenger lizards. Science. Nature. Snowshoes. Tazza. Dr Barlow. Frostbitten bums. Odd kind of tingling. The prospect of sequels…

Lo...more
Lyndz
After reading Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices, I got a taste for steampunk that I have not been able to satiate until now.



Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Leviathan is targeted for early YA, in the same vein as Percy Jackson and the early Harry Potters. My advice to you is if you are thinking about reading any of the Rick Riordan/Percy Jackson books; put that thought out of your mind right now, and pick up Leviathan instead. Trust me on this one, you will thank me for i...more
TK421
Whew…where do I begin? First off, let me tell you this is my first steampunk experience, which will definitely not be my last. At work, I’ve had a few of my co-workers recommend this book to me, along with about fifteen other steampunk titles. I ignored them. Steampunk just wasn’t my bag. It seemed too…too…what’s the word?...ridiculous. Months passed. But every time I needed a new book to read and review for my job, I always found myself looking at LEVIATHAN. The cover art is pretty cool; but ju...more
Valerie
The style came easily to me even if it is my first historical sci-fi book. I usually avoid sci-fi for the reason that they usually have long series. I read somewhere that there is a sequel to Leviathan but I forgot. I probably would've read the book anyway though because Deryn is a girl disguised as a boy and that in and of itself would hook me to almost any book.

Absolutely loved the whole Darwinist v. Clanker bit. The fact that Westerfeld really made it fit so easily without making everything...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Wow. Really, just...wow. I love alternate histories, and I dote on steampunk, and I am learning just how fertile the YA vineyards are in both these realms. This book is a wonderful tale of an alternate WWI, fought between the Darwinist powers and the Clankers. That is, those whose fighting technology is genetically manipulated animal based, and those whose fighting technology is...well, technology.

Darwin's theories of evolution became available to manipulate and modify animals at a much earlier...more
Rick Riordan
I really enjoyed Westerfeld’s Uglies, so I was excited to read this new book, set in an alternate reality. It’s the dawn of World War I, and war is about to erupt between two great powers – the Clankers (Germany & Austro-Hungary) and the Darwinists (England, France, Russia). The Clankers are technologists with walking tanks (a la Star Wars), zeppelins and airplanes, while the Darwinists have discovered ways to manipulate DNA and create biological hybrids like floating whale ships, lizards th...more
Michael
This combination fantasy and alternative history of World War 1 was fun and imaginative in many ways, but it came up short for me in its limited depth of characters and plotting and in my troubles suspending disbelief. Only some of such weakness seems attributable to this being children’s literature.

The overall premise is that the Allied powers use genetically engineered animals in their military technology while the Central powers use machines—the "Darwinists" versus the "Clankers". The former...more
Caris
Dear Santa,

I really want a thesaurus for Christmas. I've been really good this year.

Sincerely,
Scotty W.
Erin
What a pleasant surprise this book was! I strongly dislike the Uglies series and had a sense that Leviathan would be a "boy book" (whatever that means), but it turns out it was highly enjoyable.

Plot
Basically, a heavily altered retelling of the initiation of World War I. It follows two protagonists: Alek, the orphaned son of the murdered Austrian archduke, and Deryn, a girl disguising herself as a boy in order to fly on a Darwinist airbeast. She will be flying against the Clankers, the sections o...more
Megan Baxter
This is a very solid young adult book, with not too much romance shoehorned in. (That is to say, there is some romance, and it feels very shoehorny, but is on the brief side. This book in particular feels like it could have skipped the burgeoning of the feelings without in anyway detracting from the book.) I am waffling on the three or four stars right now - because I liked it enough to be interested in further books in the series without in any way falling in love with it.

But it is interesting,...more
Bry
My first impression of this book is that it is beautifully done. The map on the inside covers are amazing with the details and colors. Plus the illustrations throughout the book are fantastic. Full page sketches of a scene that are highly detailed and stunning. The text itself though is not written for teens but for young pre-teens, and the characters are said to be 15-16 but appear 12 or so in the illustrations. It just all sounds and feels so juvenile. They also think, sound, and act juvenile....more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Just look at this cover, isn't it GORGEOUS?! I absolutely love it. It's so rich, with such sumptuous detail, wonderful design and use of colour and all the elements of the story and its genres. It's simply RIPPING!! It feels nice too, with embossed bits, shiny bits, matte bits, texture in places so that if you run your fingers over it they get all excited and tingly! The one and only thing that bothers me is the cardstock used - the cover never lies flat but is constantly (even brand new and sit...more
Catie
I’ve wanted to get my hands on this book for years – ever since it came out back in 2009. I am a big Scott Westerfeld fan, and the whole setting for this book – a World War I alternate history featuring mechanized monstrosities and organic living airships – just goes right up to my pleasure centers. I’ve heard some mixed things about this book in the past two years, which may have lowered it on my to-read list somewhat but I finally had some motivation to start it this month. I am so glad that I...more
Isamlq
Me, as I read Leviathan…

Oh, that’s what was going on...
...
Poor kid, all alone… in his big house… with servants…
(I think I don’t like this kid.)
...
And he finally asks the right question.
...
...
“Jaw, meet floor...”

Me, right now: ECSTATIC

Why? Because second chance books are wonderful, aren't they? Especially if they turn out much better than initially assessed. I’m so happy that I gave this another go, but what took me so long in the first place? Shifting into steampunk called for a lot of focus,...more
David Green
For any YA-fans looking for a new fun and imaginative adventure to fill the Harry-Potter-sized void in your lives, I give you Leviathan!

Beware the Clanker Revolution!

It's the year 1914, and Austrian prince Alek has just learned that his parents have been murdered. Instead of being allowed time to grieve, he is forced to flee his country with only a handful of men loyal to him. As his birthright represents a direct threat to the Clanker army's quest for power, the fifteen-year-old Alek has been t...more
Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.


This is a bo...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. Great concept for a book with a decent execution. The book is clearly the first in a series and not enough happens to make this a great book. That said, I love both the concept and the descriptions of the "Darwinist" fabricatred animals and the "Clanker" machines. I also love the setting of an alternative history "steampunk" World War I background. Will definitely read the next installment.

Mitchel Broussard
It's almost impossible to put into words how much i absolutely loved and appreciated what Westerfeld managed to do in this book. He took the history i know of World War I and added just a little bit of fiction to all the facts.

The juxtaposition of the Clanker's (Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary) machinery that seems leaps and bounds of anything humans have ever made, and placing it in an era that is almost 100 years old, is brilliantly realized (especially in the beautiful drawings). I know...more
Bridget
I liked the alternate history aspect as some of the historical references to World War I made this book more interesting for me. Cool concept of the allies/ Darwinists using DNA altered animals on their side of the fight while the Axis powers/Clankers used machines. Worth the $3.50 I paid for it & I'd read the second book 'Behemoth' as this one did end as a cliff hanger of course. I guess most authors these days think why write one book when you can write three or more & make more money?...more
Anila
It's been two or three years since I read something by Scott Westerfeld. The last book of his was probably Peeps, with which I was less than impressed, but I loved the Uglies series when I first read it and so, as the buzz around this book grew, I was intrigued. I picked it up a while back when I was wandering the teen section at the library, looking for something to jump out at me; figured hey, Westerfeld's writing style is nice and easy and it won't take too much of my time; it can't hurt to c...more
Gorfo
This was a surprisingly good book. I am not a fan of science fiction but I found myself sucked into the explosive parallel past Scott Westerfeld creates in Leviathan. I felt drawn into this world of gigantic "beasties" formed by the life threads of many animals working as one. I found the concept beautiful unlike the Monkey-Luddites. I could picture them floating about the sky's limits and I could picture the walkers tromping around too. I don't know what side I would be on in this war but I hop...more
Maria Snyder
I was asked to write a Steampunk romance for YAs - an very interesting challenge! So now I will read a bunch of them to see how it's done :)
Noelle
Blisters, I'm rusty at reviewing! Good thing Leviathan is going to make it pretty easy for me: I mean, any time you can give me action and adventure--most of which takes place in the belly of an airborne whale? Just show me where to sign at the dotted line.

Leviathan has one of the more interesting steampunk set ups I've encountered in my forays into the genre. Usually I've found that Steampunk worlds are split up into us and them--the people gung-ho about the new steam-related technological adva...more
Lyle Kimo Valdez
I liked the premise when I saw it, I found it intriguing. The book is a non-stop action story, with an incredibly imaginative steampunkish world-building, two very sympathetic protagonists and amazing illustrations and I loved every minute of it.

The two kids, Alek and Deryn are what make Leviathan stand out for me. They each are immersed in their own culture and have their views about Clankers vs Darwinists and it is through their eyes that questionings about each side are raised and they both c...more
Lyndsey
Dubiously. Squick. Ninny. Blisters! And Barking Spiders! All these are some of Westerfeld's favorite words. Fortunately, I grew to like them as well and they fit well with the fun tone of the book.

Although it took a while for me to get invested in the characters (especially Alek), I found myself a bit giddy when the two leads met for the first time. That's when I knew that I really cared about what happened to them. For me, that's a necessary part of any book, I have to feel that connection in...more
Lars Guthrie
Aleksander, a prince barred from his throne, is up past his bedtime in 1914, playing with tin soldiers. Given who he is, it follows that in this imaginary battle, the French and British forces stand ‘no chance against the might of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.’

What prevents the boy from becoming king is his mother, Sophie. Franz Ferdinand married her for love rather than dynastic succession, and children of the union are denied the crown. For now.

Suddenly, the surreptitious playing and the action...more
Kathryn
An entertaining and thoughtful alternate history of the dawn of WWI, this steampunk version has the young prince Alek (heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne) fleeing in a mechanical walker after his parents' assassination. Under his command are a few of those who were loyal to his father. Meanwhile, in the UK, young Deryn Sharp disguises herself as a boy so that she can join the British Air Service, soar the skies, and help command the huge "beasties" that make up the British fleet. You see, in th...more
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Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling American-born author of YA sci-fi literature. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.
His book Evolution's Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation for the 2000 Philip K. Dick Award. So Yesterday won a Victorian Premier's Award and...more
More about Scott Westerfeld...
Uglies (Uglies, #1) Pretties (Uglies, #2) Specials (Uglies, #3) Extras (Uglies, #4) Behemoth (Leviathan, #2)

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“Maybe this was how you stayed sane in wartime: a handful of noble deeds amid the chaos. ” 196 likes
“Barking spiders!” 126 likes
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