Gary Hoggatt's Reviews > Behemoth

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
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Apr 17, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction, ya, all-fiction, alternate-history, audiobooks
Read in December, 2011

Scott Westerfeld continues his Leviathan trilogy with the second volume, 2010's Behemoth. I'll be trying to avoid spoilers for anyone who hasn't read the first book in this review. But trust me - go read Leviathan and come on back.

In Behemoth, we find our heroes Deryn Sharp and Prince Alekzander in Istanbul, at the heart of the Ottoman Empire and vital to the efforts to prevent the Ottomans from entering the Great War on the Clanker side.

Alek escapes the airship Leviathan and ends up getting entangled with the opposition to the Ottoman sultan, playing a pivotal role in what transpires in Istanbul. The young prince does a lot of growing up in this book, and you can see him begin to mature into a leader. Meanwhile, Deryn finds herself on a secret mission of a military nature, but the two do reconnect in Istanbul and work together to accomplish their military and political goals. Also, there's a love triangle, which gets very interesting.

In this volume, the Darwinist creations aren't as prominent as the first book, as the action takes place in the mostly Clanker, if officially neutral, Ottoman Empire. The title creature behemoth makes an appearance, of course, and we finally find out what is in Dr. Barlow's mysterious new eggs. The Clanker technology, on the other hand, is a lot more interesting in this book than it was in Leviathan, owing to the amazing variety of machines to be found in cosmopolitan Istanbul.

Istanbul itself plays a large role in the book, as much of the action takes place there. Westerfeld does a great job of making the wondrous metropolis come alive, with the people, politics, and intrigue deep and believable. Just as Westerfeld created a thriving ecosystem with the airship Leviathan in the first book, he crafts a complex city with Istanbul in Behemoth.

Alan Cumming performs Behemoth, and he delivers an excellent performance, just as he did in Leviathan. Any audiobook fan will enjoy Cumming's work on this book.

If you enjoyed Leviathan, you probably already plan on reading Behemoth. Definitely do so, as the second volume is just as good as the first. I'm eagerly moving on to Goliath now, and can't wait to see how this fantastic series ends.
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