*THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE*
This book is the first installment in one of my favorite series. Can’t say I had the best experience reading Westerfeld’s other series Uglies, so even though I had liked that series enough to pick this one up I wasn’t expecting much. Okay to be honest it was that cover and, primarily, the promise of beautiful illustrations that really had me checking Leviathan. It was my first steampunk and I love it. This is one of the few series I practically sit-down to re-read on an annual basis. 8.5/10 Unicorn Horns.
Don’t want to give too much away, but this series is about two characters, one a young girl, Deryn, disguised as a boy in order to join the British Army, the other a young Austro-Hungarian Prince, Aleksander, on the run and hiding his identity, who have an unlikely meeting that turns into a long and interesting adventure set in an alternate WWI (Clankers Vs. Darwinists). I really enjoyed the main character’s personalities, humour, their alternating POVs, and the way they both ended up developing. Also really enjoyed the range of other personalities found in some of the more minor characters. The world-building is something I will NEVER get over, simply amazing, and probably the top reason I can’t help but keep returning to it. This series was a real improvement from his last in terms of sheer imagination, dialogue, overall story line and pacing.
The fanciful descriptions of magnificent and extraordinary hybrids, beasts, and the machinery that existed along side them?….uuhhhgggg…words cannot describe lol. It often went over my head. I had trouble here and there trying to picture something so imaginative, so the illustrations by Thompson were really something. Really beautifully done (have you seen those maps?!), and in a way that I felt fully captured and presented Westerfield’s incredibly imaginative creatures. Though the purely mechanical creations sometimes seemed to lack some creativity in comparison to the creatures, there were plenty of others that more than made up for this. Made me really want to read some more of this genre (seriously, if you know of any good recommendations please feel free to give me a shout! =)