Robert's Reviews > Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
Feb 19, 2011

it was amazing
Read in August, 2010

Steampunk is unfortunately a lesser known genre. I say unfortunately, because it lacks the attention it deserves. While it's a smaller niche, and more constraining at times, Leviathan certainly proved to put a unique take on it.

I borrowed this book from a friend, and as we have almost identical taste in books (save for Twilight...) I figured that it would be enjoyable. Sure enough, I blew through it quickly. Apparently I've been missing out on a good author too, as this was my introduction to Scott Westerfeld.

Anywho, now to actually review the book. I found the plot to be enjoyable, and the various ways that it likened to actual history to be quite clever. Some links were more obvious than others, though it helped to have it all pointed out in the end. It was nice understanding most of them though, having learned about the first world war in Social Studies a few months ago.

The characters were all wonderful. They had depth, and all acted like rational human beings (something many characters tend to be unable to do these days for some reason...) all while allowing the plot to move on in a swift manner. There was never a moment where I thought it was dragging, nor a time when I thought things were going too quickly to understand. It all flowed quite nicely.

The writing itself was very good. It was easy to speedread, yet maintained a vocabulary wide enough to pass for the content it was pushing. (IE, it didn't really try to dumb things down for us teenagers.) I found myself quite liking Westerfeld's writing. His use of dialect was also quite enjoyable.

As for the actual technologies... I must admit, I found that having what they did at the time was just a wee bit farfetched. Maybe I only say this because it was 96 years in the past, and we still have nothing of the sort now, but even if we were trying (and we are now, to my knowledge) to obtain the things featured in the book at the time, methinks it would pose impossible. As I said. We're working on it now, and still can't do it with modern technology. That said, the contraptions are certainly interesting. Especially in concept. Given the fact that it all works so well, I have little reason to mention this other than for the sake of nitpicking. Despite its unbelievable nature, I found it didn't take away from the story at all.

I also feel that the artwork is worthy of mentioning. While it might seem a bit childish to have pictures in a young adult novel, I found them to be quite fascinating. They were all simply beautiful works, and I sat and stared at each one for a good minute before turning the page, absorbing all the detail and work put into each one. It's a shame that pictures are thought of in the way that they are. I think that they actually add quite a bit to the story. So long as they're not overused, at least.

All in all, I highly recommend Leviathan. It's not something for everyone, that is for certain. But if you enjoy fantasy or science fiction, or a happy medium, this is for you. Even for any history junkies out there, I think this is worth taking a look at.

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