There are, I suppose, some nitpickers who would argue that the 1910s are part of the Dieselpunk era rather than the steampunk era. To them I say: pish posh. Can’t we just get along and enjoy good stories? Luckily, the nitpickers are few in this case, with most happily agreeing to call Leviathan steampunk, regardless of when it takes place.
Leviathan has brought steampunk to the attention of a lot of young adults and continues to do so. It helps that Westerfeld was already a popular young adult author. It also helps that he filled the book with grand adventure in an imaginative alternate history.
It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. The Leviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl 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 the Great War brewing, Alek’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way – taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.
The first chapter is available as a PDF from Simon and Schuster.
Many reviews out there, but here’s a taste:
- Review from Book Smuggers
- Review from SFF World
- Review from the Literary Omnivore
- Review from the New York Times
- Review from Wondrous Reads
Comments and other review links are always welcome.