16 June, 2013

Book Review: Leviathan

From Goodreads:  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.

Thoughts: I was looking for a science fiction book for my 13 in '13 challenge and one of the women I work with at the library suggested this. Leviathan is what is classed as Steampunk - a sub genre of science fiction. Steampunk often views the world from a point of what could have happened if our science evolved differently, a world where steam power machinery became our dominant technology.
Leviathan is set in the days prior to World War I. Prince Aleksander is the (fictional) son of Archduke Ferdinand - whisked away by men loyal to his father only hours after his parent's death. He is a "clunker" -  people whose technology is machine based.  
On the other side of the fence are the "Darwinist" those who have merged technology with living beings and have created living machinery. Very cool.
Leviathan is the first book in a trilogy and therefore introduces characters, orientates the reader to the world and sets the scene. At the same time, Westerfeld creates a fantastical, well written story. This alternate world is believable and intriguing. As a young adult book it would be a great way to introduce World War I history - teasing out the truths (Archduke Ferdinand did exist, his assassination was one of the catalysts for WWI) from the fiction (Prince Aleksander did not exist). It's also a wonderful way to play "what if". What if the world had developed a different way - what would be the same, what would change?
I'll definitely be look up the second of these books.

Challenges: 13 in '13