Monday, December 6, 2010

Review of Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

I've been waiting for Behemoth to be released since I read Leviathan earlier this year. Behemoth came out on the 5th of October, and just now I finally got to the top of my library's hold queue, two months later.

The Leviathan trilogy tells of an steampunk alternate World War I where the allies are Darwinists and the axis are Clankers. The Darwinists use genetically-engineered animals and the Clankers use advanced machinery as weapons.

Behemoth picks up immediately after where Leviathan ends. Alek, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, a Clanker, is on the run from the Germans on board the Leviathan - an airship made by the Darwinists. Deryn is a British midshipman posing as a boy who befriends Alek. They're on their way to Istanbul where the crew hopes to put a stop to the war.

Behemoth is also illustrated by Keith Thompson. Rarely do I find a novel illustrated, so that immediately was interesting. It helps people like me, devoid of imagination, picture the far-out creatures that feature in the book.

The premise of the Leviathan trilogy is extremely unique and simultaneously compelling. Westerfeld created lingo to accompany the setting, a la 'boffin' and 'barking', which adds to the believability of the setting. Behemoth is full of action, and the stakes have risen since Leviathan.

My favorite part about Behemoth is the romance, though a small part of the story. Deryn finds herself developing a crush on Alek, though she can't act on this whilst dressed as a boy. Also, the scenes between Lilit and Deryn are awkward and hilarious.

The ending of Behemoth solves the main conflict in itself, whilst introducing the conflict of the next book. Goliath, the final installment in the Leviathan trilogy, comes out in October of 2011.

I rate Behemoth 4 out of 5.

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