Julia's Reviews > Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
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Good for about age 10+ if a good reader, but better for middle school & up because some understanding of both World War 1 & the science of genes and ecosystems will help make this book less confusing.

It's a non-stop adventure set in an alternate history during 1914 at the beginning of WW1. Austria-Hungary, Germany, and it's allies have technology that is based on machines - generally machines with legs rather than wheels (and also advanced beyond that of real WW1 technology). Rival nations refer to them as "clankers."

One of the princes of Austria-Hungary, Alek, has been forced into hiding after his parents were murdered. He is surrounded by a few who are loyal to him and are trying to get him to safety in switzerland while Germans hunt him down.

British, French, Russians and their allies have a technology based on the bioengineering of species. Not only are there engineered elaphantine species pulling carts through London, but also they have developed a small ecosystem from the DNA of whales and other creatures to substitute for blimps. Deryn is a girl who is pretending to be a boy so she can serve on this great living ship, the Leviathan.

Once war is declared with Germany, suddenly her Deryn (known as Dylan or Mr.Sharp) is in danger during air battles with German planes and zeplins. Inevetably, the paths of Alek and Deryn collide, leading to even more danger and adventure.

This book was so much fun to read and I absolutely will be waiting for the sequel!

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