Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Leviathan #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 6 2009
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
Being a fan of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, I was excited to read this book. I hate to say it disappointed me a lot. I didn't hate it, but I just found it really hard to get into for a lot of reasons. The setting was really neat though- I liked the "alternative history" of World War I, that seemed almost futuristic, but not quite. The machines and hybrid animals they had invented were mind blowing at times, and I liked the idea of riding around on a giant whale in the sky, it was intriging.
Unfortunately, I thought the two protagonists, Alek and Deryn, seemed too young to be typical YA fiction. Even though they were fifteen, I think this book would've applied a little more to Middle Grade readers just from the way they thought and acted. Also, this book had A LOT of details about the military fighting and machines, which honestly got a little bit boring for me, and I had a tendency to tune out, then lose my place. Overall, this book didn't make sense because the machine stuff was more for older readers and the characters seemed for younger readers. The first half of the book was also incredibly slow! Practically nothing happened, I assume it was just giving background, but it took forever for me to get through. I almost just quit reading it, but I had heard so many good things about this book, and plus, I rarely ever quit reading a book without finishing it. I try to finish everything because you can't fairly judge a book without reading the whole thing. Anyway, tangent aside, this book definitely picked up in the second half when the two characters actually MET each other. But then by the end, there was almost no resolution, and there was still hardly a relationship built between any of the characters. Deryn was a pretty cool girl character, she was really smart and brave and I did admire her a bit, but at times it was hard to believe she was even a girl! I wished I would've understood the characters feelings more, and it would've been deeper, but like I said before, it was sort of like they were twelve years old.
I didn't hate this book, I just didn't really like it either. It was just okay for me, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it, if you're a fan of steampunk and machines or alternative historical fiction, read this, but if you're just a typical YA fan, I wouldn't put this one at the top of your TBR.