Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Recommendation: LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld

I’m a big fan of the Uglies series, and a sucker for steampunk, so Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN sounded like the best book I’d likely read in a fortnight (couldn’t commit to much more than that, given my average books-read-to-days-passed ratio). And it was. In fact, I’d go so far as to say LEVIATHAN was the best book I read all month, and maybe in the past two months:)

LEVIATHAN stars fifteen-year-old Aleksander I’ve-already-forgotten-his-last-name, the illegitimate heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne who, upon learning of his parents’ demise--well, murder, really--must flee from the same assassins if he wants to keep his own head. Because it turns out he’s not so illegitimate after all. Thanks to a friendly Pope, who made an eleventh-hour alteration to his royal father’s marriage contract to his commoner mother, he is, by birth and business license, the next Austro-Hungarian king.

If some strange, prickly feeling is trying to crawl out of the filing cabinet labeled “Tenth-grade World History” at the back of your brain, have no fear: The details of the preceding paragraph are not (entirely) fictitious. LEVIATHAN is a work of alternative history, recycling some bits, completely reinventing others. For instance, while Franz Ferdinand and his wife were indeed assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, touching off a small conflict now known as World War One, it was by the bullets of Serbian patriots, not warmongering Germans (or so conventional history has concluded). And in either case, I’m pretty sure the Germans didn’t have insect-like war machines--or the British genetically engineered flying sperm whales.

Yeah, you read that right. Genetically engineered flying sperm whales. Now THAT’S steampunk for you:)

This one is definitely worth a read, especially if you’re looking for a good book for a teenage boy. It takes a few chapters to really get going, midnight escape notwithstanding, but by the novel’s end, LEVIATHAN had me utterly ensnared in its tentacles--er, net.


Myrna Foster said...

I very much want to read this one, but I'm waiting on the sequel(s). Thanks for tempting me though. ;)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Thanks for posting this review. My writing-friend-who-is-currently-on-submission's agent is pitching her ms as Scott Westerfield meets Bourne Identity. Her book is amazing and I love Bourne Identity, but I'd never heard of Scott Westerfield. So, this recommendation comes at just the right time in my reading life.

Btw, thanks so much for your comment on MSFV. I didn't even notice that "week's" mistake ... and here I pride myself on being a member of the grammar police brigade. Sheesh! Thanks for catching it and for the honest feedback. It helps a ton. :)


Krista V. (the former Krista G.) said...

Yeah, Myrna, there's definitely going to be a sequel. I can understand wanting to wait until you have more to plow through all at once:)

Amy: Scott Westerfeld meets BOURNE IDENTITY? I want to read her book. Bad. You can pass that on to her agent, and he/she to all the editors he's/she's pitching: They already have one verified sale.

And you're welcome. If you ever find an official Grammar Police Brigade badge (GPB for short), I want one, too:)

Charity Bradford said...

I read this in Jan. as well. It was a slower start, but I agree--by the end I was hooked. I even had that "Oh, crud, now I have to wait to find out what happens next."

Thanks for the award too. I'm working on posting my ten things.