Ruby's Reviews > Goliath

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
Jun 26, 2011

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bookshelves: teen, steampunk

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It's been a while since I've read Steampunk, and probably longer since I've reviewed any. Scott Westerfeld is definitely the writer to make me question why this is so. I love the combination of technologies--both mechanical and biological--that are at war in this series. It's truly a unique addition to the genre, and I'm sorry to see the end of it.
Scott Westerfeld is a genius at world-building. This series has, in part, reminded me once or twice of Kenneth Oppel's Airborn in that both books feature a character more comfortable in the air than on the ground. But each author takes the concept of a dirigible, and runs with it in an entirely different direction. If you haven't read Airborn, by the way, you can't really call yourself a fan of Steampunk. Joking--you can, but it's a book you shouldn't miss.
I don't know how I managed to let another book hijack my review of Goliath. I'm just not sure what I want to say about this book. It flowed brilliantly during the first three quarters and I was glued to my computer screen--and I hate reading on the computer. However: the end didn't quite satisfy me. As much as I loved the Steampunk aspect of the story, and even found the action bits pretty compelling, the center of this book was Alek and Deryn's relationship. Oh, hold on a second. This is probably a good time to insert:


In Leviathan, we met the cast. In Behemoth, we got to know them a little better, and in Goliath we follow them to the end of their journey. Was I sastified by the ending? Yes and no. It's got a happy ending--the ending I wanted--but I realized, on reaching the last page, that there were some elements that I didn't like.
As I mentioned, the element of the story that I followed most keenly was the romance. Without being conscious of what I was doing, I was hoping that Deryn would have a chance to be female. For her to wear women's clothing, and to be treated as a woman. Without it, the novel is incomplete for me. I'm not saying that Deryn needed to be more feminine in order for the romance to work, but that I wished that she had had a chance of it. It's not supposed to be important--Alek loves Deryn the way she is--but I still wanted to see it.
Also, I was irritated to discover that Dr. Barlow didn't know that Deryn was a girl. I think we were led to believe that she did and my emotional, sulky self felt that Westerfeld did this on purpose. And not in a fun, "Aw, snap!" kind of way. But I may be influenced by the fact that some of Scott Westerfeld's tweets suggest the man has a healthy ego. Which brings me to the most interesting point of my review--how much did my opinion of the author influence my opinion of the book. Dude, you might as well ask me that chicken-or-the-egg question because I sure as shootin' don't know.
I'll be curious to know what my fellow Leviathan trilogy fans think of Goliath. Yeah, Logan. I'm looking at you.
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