Kogiopsis's Reviews > Goliath

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
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Dec 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fangirl-alert, favorite-2011-reads, reviewed
Read from December 18 to 19, 2011

The next time you're going to get on a plane, pick up one of these books. Whichever you haven't read, if you have yet to finish the series, or your favorite if you have. Reading about action atop the back of a flying genetically engineered whale takes on a whole new level of awe and enjoyment when you yourself can glance sideways and down at the puffy backs of clouds.

Which is basically to say that on a 2.5 hour plane ride yesterday, I somehow plowed through 250 pages of this book without noticing the time at all. It was disorientating in the best sort of way. I think 'engrossed' is the right word for how the plot affected me. (view spoiler)


I think I sort of lose my reviewing ability when I hit book 3 in a trilogy. There are a couple of reasons: one, it's the culmination of an experience. I've heard people say they have trouble reviewing the first book of a series because it should be judged by how it fits in to everything else; I am the opposite. I can't review the last, because my feelings about it are tangled up in my feelings for the first and second and are generally far too complicated to put into words. If you asked me about this book, or about The Hero Of Ages, in person you would get a lot of flailing and some squeaks and a whole heap of inarticulateness. That might be considered a mostly accurate portrayal of my emotions.
Oh, the second reason: dancing around spoilers. Talk about a pain.

So. A review that is as specific as I can make it while still letting it be necessarily vague. This series is insanely readable: suck-away-your-time readable, but also damn-where-did-the-pages-go-I-want-more readable. It is also insanely good. Just, you know, good in an essential way, because it is good on several levels. The history is really cool, as are the deviations from it. (Japan with its more integrated Darwinist and Clanker technologies and those horrifying kappa. Russia's bears - dear god those things are terrifying when they're starved; creepiest illustration to date - and then America with a civil war about technology and not just ideology.) Also the characters! Okay, so Alek's nonstop blather about his DESTINY and FATE and whatnot bother me. I'm not a huge fan of the concept of destiny in general. But he's still a great guy, and a great character. And every now and again, Deryn calls him on it, or at least thinks something very eyerollish about it, so all is well. Deryn is just head-to-toe pure wonderful. I love her strength and her determination and her iron will and her self-control and her spine and her courage and her secrets and her intelligence and basically everything. (view spoiler)


Oh, and TESLA. How did I enjoy Tesla in this book? Let me count the ways. He was fucking crazy, that's for sure. But the way that his machine echoed the atomic bomb? Or am I reading too much into it as an aftereffect of my freshman seminar on the Manhattan Project? I don't think so, not really. Maybe Westerfeld didn't do it consciously, but Tesla's machine definitely resonated in the same way - the thing that could both level cities and provide power; a weapon designed to bring peace. As I was reading, I imagined the Bomb in the hands of one desperate, hurt, brilliant man and got chills.

Umm. I am not very articulate tonight. Thinking and writing in fragments. Here is the point: read this series. There are authors who treat YA as a low-quality cesspit for their corniest blather; Westerfeld is not one of them. This is the good stuff, the cream of the crop. Set it up in a place of honor next to the Chaos Walking and Thief Errant series, in the lineup of the best YA being published right now.

(oh, and Mr. Westerfeld, if you read this: should you ever be inclined to write a series about the Adventures of Deryn and Alek Kicking Ass FOR SCIENCE! And Also Lots Of Snogging And Being Adorable, I'll read it. I'll even pre-order it in hard cover and my college student budget be damned. My priorites are in the right order, dammit.)
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Reading Progress

12/18/2011 page 266
49.0% "Best place to read this book: on the plane. It adds a whole other dimension, trust me. Also: "He's a scientist. They like rocks." PFFT."

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Catie Hahahaha, the Adventures of Deryn and Alek Kicking Ass FOR SCIENCE!...

I wish that the ending of this book didn't seem quite so much like an ending. I'll really miss them!

Great review, Anila!


Kaethe Lucky for you (and me, and everyone else) Westerfeld likes the characters too. He's posted a specially-commissioned extra piece of art from Thompson, and written a 3k-word story to go along with it. Happy holidays!


Catie Wow, thanks Kaethe!


Catie Hahaha, I love how he calls his own bonus chapter a "fan fic."


Kaethe He's one of the sweetest guys: so very obliging to his fans. And self-deprecating.


Catie I am a huge fan, Kaethe. That bonus chapter was amaaaaaazing. And the picture!!


Kaethe Have you read any of his wife's books? We love her, too.


Catie I've only read Liar, but I liked it.


Kaethe Magic or Madness (and sequels) is more adult in themes, with a fun math focus for fantasy. How to Ditch Your Fairy is more a light-hearted romp, with lots of sports in it. I really like that her books are so different from one another.


Kogiopsis Kaethe wrote: "Lucky for you (and me, and everyone else) Westerfeld likes the characters too. He's posted a specially-commissioned extra piece of art from Thompson, and written a 3k-word story to go along with it..."

Can all authors be Westerfeld? That is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing, Kaethe.


Kaethe Not all authors have the time or inclination, but I admit that this kind of thing is why I love the internets.


Kogiopsis They don't all have to write fanfic - it's just the way he talks about his work makes me really really happy. Writing is sort of a pie-in-the-sky thing for me - a dream career that I imagine must be idyllic to have - so it's great to see someone really loving what they do the way he does.


Kaethe It makes a nice change from the suffering artist cliche, doesn't it? I'm charmed by writers who share their glee online: "I get to do this for a living! I'm a lucky person!"


Catie It makes me feel like he's one of us - a reader.


Kaethe Well said.


message 16: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Wonderful review for a wonderful book. Did you know that the author posted a bonus chapter on his website? Here's the link.


Kogiopsis AH wrote: "Wonderful review for a wonderful book. Did you know that the author posted a bonus chapter on his website? Here's the link."

I did see that! Kaethe posted the link above. It gave me a serious case of the happy squees. Crossdressing kisses are marvelous on so many levels!


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