Deryn is a girl posing as a boy so that she can serve in the British Air Service on the Leviathan, a Darwinist airship. Her new friend, Alec, a prince who helped save not just Deryn but the whole crew of the airship, is posing as a commoner. After a secret mission doesn’t go as planned, Deryn and Alec find themselves alone in Istanbul working with underground rebels to try and prevent the balance of power tipping towards the German’s.
Fans of Leviathan will not be disappointed in this second installment of the trilogy. In the first book most of the setting involves Darwinist technology (living machines created with animal DNA), this novel is set in a neutral Clanker nation which allows Westerfeld to expose the reader to the steam powered Clanker technology. There is a lot of nail biting action and some interesting new characters. Another thing I really like about this book is that even though Deryn is falling in love with Alec there is none of that painful angst, gushiness or tension found in other young adult novels with forbidden love. Keith Thompson’s drawings are amazing and continue to enhance the story.