Nicholas Karpuk's Reviews > Goliath

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
May 07, 2012

really liked it

Westerfield went absolutely nuts on this last book, as its a trilogy, and in books you either write a single book, a trilogy, or you keep writing them until you die and your children have to make arrangements on how to get your notes to a ghostwriter.

Whereas the first book extended across Europe and the second mostly covered Istanbul, the third book just says, "screw it" and does everything else. We get to see how Asian powers handle Darwinian monsters, how the American north and south are divided on machines vs. monsters, and how Pancho Villa might have taken advantage of automatons. At a certain point it's strange to realize you just read a chapter discussing Villa's Mech Warriors, and marvel at how easy it is to take the zany crap serious in these books.

The historical cameos also get upped a notch. Beyond the aforementioned Villa, there's Tesla as a mad genius (which is a bit over the top, I'll acknowledge), Pinkertons fighting shenanigans, William Randolph Hearst scheming, and a whole mess of other references large and small. It's the history nerd's equivalent of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" except this book is occasionally genuinely funny.

And beyond anything else it teaches young adults the importance of discussing ultra-powerful death rays. Not everyone read "The Butter Battle Book" as children, so its a good opportunity to really consider the lunacy of Tesla's very real claim that he could build a weapon that everyone would find so terrifying that it would end all war. It's worth noting that even power mad governments of that time still were too scared of him to provide funding for his wacky contraption.

I wouldn't mind revisiting this world if Westerfeld decides to continue the series, though he can only go so far before we must inevitably deal with their version of the last boss from the original Wolfenstein 3D:

Mein Laben
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