Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday=Book Review Time--Steampunkin'

Up for today: Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld: Book CoverBehemoth by Scott Westerfeld: Book Cover

Why I bought them? I had heard great things online about Leviathan, but I thought I wouldn't like Steampunk so I didn't buy it at first. I picked it up in the bookstore several times loving the cover and quality of the book. Debated it, thought about if one of my kids would like it, and put it back. Natalie Whipple raved about how good it was, so I finally decided to give it a chance. I got it up the next time I was at the Barnes and Noble. I bought Behemoth at the BN as soon as it came out.

Synopses/Set ups: Leviathan starts at the same point as WWI when Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife are assassinated. One of the main characters is their son Alek who is fleeing for his life. The other main character is Deryn, a girl masquerading as a boy to be in England's air force. The twist is that Alek is fleeing Austria in a Clanker machine (a sort of walking tank) and Deryn's ship is an enormous dirigible whale. The fun begins when their worlds (Clanker and Darwinist) collide. Here's a fun trailer that explains the difference in Clanker and Darwinist. 1:14. So not long. I love the ending line. Behemoth follows their continuing adventures. (I don't want to spoil anything.)

What I thought? Leviathan completely swept me away. The characters feel real and grounded even though the elements of the story are fantastical. The history is actually pretty accurate although there are many departures. Some of the criticisms that I heard about the book said that the characters come across a little young for their ages and the artwork (which is amazing and part of why I had to get the print books) seems to depict them that way as well, but that sort of thing didn't really bother me. The beginning is a little slow, but don't let that stop you. Once Alek and Deryn's stories merge things really take off. I loved it. Behemoth is equally well done.

My Rating: ***** out of 5 (for both), Rare 5 star books for me. These were two of my top favorites I read last year.

Cleanness Score: 3 out of 10, There is a little light language and some fairly mild violence and a lot of peril. All in all, it's fairly innocuous. I'm even considering letting my 10 year old read it. It's recommended for 7th grade and above.


Hannah Beth said...

There's this steampunk webcomic that's pretty fun that you might want to check out:

It's all I was thinking about during that clip XD

Tess said...

see? I come over here and think, "I do enjoy a good review".

I do.

It's a conundrum for me.

glad to hear these were so of the year? woot!

Her highness, Samantha VĂ©rant said...

La fille is reading Leviathan now! I'd steal it from her, but, in French, it would take me too long to read!

Yat-Yee said...

I loved Leviathan as well. Will get to Behemoth soon.

T. Anne said...

I'm pretty happy to know there is great steampunk out there! OK, time for me to dig in and read these too. I love your reviews, btw.

lotusgirl said...

Hannah, I checked that out. The artwork is so detailed. I bet you would enjoy these books.

Tess, I think people do like book reviews. I've just decided that as a writer, I'm better off only doing the books I like and would recommend.

Samantha, I can understand. It's a great read. I hope she enjoys it.

Yat-Yee. I'm glad you loved it. I bet you'll love Behemoth too.

T. Anne. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it's actually a lot of fun and very creative. I'm glad you like my reviews. Yay!

Patti said...

This book is sitting in my book case. I was hoping my boys would read it, but to no avail. I'll have to pick it up.

Danyelle said...

Great review! I really enjoy steampunk, so I've had my eye on these two. :D

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Thanks for the great reviews. They're not my kind of YA story, but maybe I'll be eating those words one day too.

I once said that about vampires. Especially sparkling ones. ;)

ali said...

It's funny how tastes run. Most of my friends LOVED Leviathan and Behemoth is at the top of their TBR list (or they've already read it). Me? Not so much. Read Leviathan, gave it 3 stars. Maybe 4. But a low 4. I have almost no interest in reading Behemoth.

I feel so alone!

Alexa @ Not Enough Bookshelves said...

Leviathan was such a great read I must pick up Behemoth soon!

I went to see Scott Westerfeld talking about Leviathan at my local bookstore last year and he was brilliant. One of the best author presentations I've ever seen. If he comes to a place near you, go see him.

lotusgirl said...

Patti, It may take them seeing you read it and raving about it.

Danyelle, These were my first steampunk, and I can see why people like it.

Stina, I didn't think they were my kind of book either.

ali, It is funny. That's why there are so many different types of books out there. Not everything appeals to everyone.

Alexa, Lucky you. I would love to see Scott Westerfeld in person. I've heard from others as well that he's wonderful. Hopefully someday.

Susan R. Mills said...

Wow! 5 stars? I'll definitely have to add them to my list.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I swallowed them both whole over winter break :D I read anything that has to to with Istanbul...but this one I especially liked. Great artwork in it too!

lotusgirl said...

Susan, I hope you like them as well as I did.

Carolyn, I loved the part about Istanbul. I was continually amazed at the artwork and how well it went with the story.