Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Leviathan is an interesting blend of contextually accurate historical details and fabricated alternate histories. What if the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had a son? What if Darwin had developed his Theory of Evolution even further? If you are unsure on the contexts of these ideas, then conveniently Westerfeld has explained them in the back of the book!
I picked up Leviathan, because I do love a good historical fiction novel, and I like it even more if the protagonist ‘genderbends’ to stick it to the patriarchy! In light of this comment, I have to admit that I enjoyed Deryn’s perspective a lot more than Alec’s. Although I enjoyed his side of the story, I much preferred the creativity of the Darwinist’s perspective. Unfortunately my favourite bit of the genderbend story arc is the discovery, which I was disappointed to find didn’t actually happen in the first book. Leviathan was definitely a slow paced novel, but that is to be expected when the content needs to be explained in high level of detail. The characters were well prepared for the rest of the series, but I couldn’t find the purpose of the novel. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the sequels, and to be quite honest, I’m slightly disinterested after not being totally impressed by the first book.
After reading a few reviews on Goodreads, I discovered that I wasn’t the only person that thought Leviathan was probably marketted wrongly at the Young Adult market. It read a lot more like a Middle Grade novel, I think this was partly due to the absoutely beautiful illustrations that complimented the story, much like those in A School For Good And Evil by Soman Chainani. I have to say I am extremely thankful for the pictures as without them I’m not sure I would have understood what was going on! It was difficult to visualise the proportions of the genetically modified animals, so the art was very much necessary. I found myself quickly becoming lost and confused with the plotline, this may have been due to my attention not entirely being focused on the novel. Leviathan is absolutely jam packed with action sequences and fight scenes that I couldn’t remember who was fighting who.
In conclusion, I thought the premise was intriguing but I wasn’t engaged enough to continue with the seires, therefore I will only give Leviathan two stars.