** spoiler alert **
First and foremost I must say that Ed is awesome as he went to the NYC book expo, and then got up at 5:45am in order to make sure that I not only got an Advanced Readers copy but a personalized signed one. Ed, YOU ROCK!
Now onto the book.
I quite enjoyed Goliath. I floundered a bit in the beginning because it's been a while since I read the first book and since I wasn't expecting to get this one, I wasn't prepared. (It also doesn't help that the first 2 books are at my boyfriend's and I didn't have access to them.) However, that withstanding it was a great book.
As always, I marvel at the world Westerfield has created here and now that the story is done I wish there was more set in this universe. Perhaps even a WWII series, I don't know. I liked how the US was divided in Clanker and Darwinist due to the civil war and it makes sense that the north would be Clanker with the steam revolution and coal mines. BUT somehow the south being Darwinist doesn't make that much sense to me as a good portion of the south believes in creationism. But for the sake of the story, it works.
This book is a bit different than the others as it seems to feature more real-life characters, both major and minor, as well as actual technologies that were available at the time. It seemed to ground the story a bit more in history and have it depart from alternate-history fantasy. While each element has its place, I felt that the majesty of the fantastic that was present in the first 2 books was a bit lost here.
Also, I think Dylan / Deryn's secret was flaunted a bit much. I know it had to come to a head here and people learn the truth. But there was no need for the Mexican general to know really and the admission to Dr. Barlow felt a little flat. Although I understand this later admission due to her current position.
As far as the conclusion, while I really like the final scene with Alek and Deryn, I'm not sure I believe Alek's actions regarding his family position. I wont' say too much to spoil the story but the move seemed a bit out of character without enough build up for it.
It is because of what Alek does in the final chapter that makes the ending feel rushed to me. I would have liked to see him grappling with his decision more throughout the book, or perhaps it occurs to him at the end of this book and then there's a fourth book where he grapples with it and decides what to do.
Alot of things / people and ideas were introduced in Goliath and could have been expanded more. The ending works as is, but it still feels too rushed, too pat to me. Not just with Alek but the situation with the world in general. I would rather see some of the things mentioned in the last chapter than be told about them. All in all I think a fourth book would have rounded it out neater. However, I understand why Westerfield left off where he did and the ending would have been more satisfying if it had been led up to better. Or perhaps if not quite so many elements were introduced this late in the game.
My complaints on the ending aside I really liked the series and it is a wonderful conclusion. I am sad to see that this seems to be the end of this world as it is one of the most unique I have run across. I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone who likes steampunk, alternate history, science or even just a good war / action/adventure story.