Leviathan by Scott WesterfeldLeviathan by Scott Westerfeld


byScott Westerfeld

Hardcover | October 6, 2009

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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. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

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.
Born in Dallas, TX, in 1963, Scott Westerfeld was born the youngest of three children. Westerfeld grew up in several states due to his father's career as a computer programmer for Univac. He graduated from Vassar in 1985 with a degree in philosophy. Before becoming a full time writer, Westerfeld held several jobs including factory work...
Title:LeviathanFormat:HardcoverDimensions:448 pages, 9 × 5.5 × 1.35 inPublished:October 6, 2009Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416971734

ISBN - 13:9781416971733

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Umm, wow! So well written, a unique twist to a story so often told in history class. Well crafted and illustrated. I'm definitely hooked on this series!
Date published: 2014-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Steampunk for Middle School & YA Mini Book Review: Intriguing Steampunk novel for the middle school and YA reader. I struggled a little with the fantasy element as it is not my favorite genre, but still found myself enjoying the story and wanting to know more. The illustrations were spectacular (even on this Kobo edition) it actually made me go out and buy a copy for Jake so that he can read it in a year or two. The characters are likeable and well developed, especially Deryn, who I just adored. The storyline moves pretty quickly with plenty of action and some nice light humor. All in all I would definitely recommend it to the more mature middle school reader and the younger or more reluctant YA reader. Both boys and girls will enjoy as the story is told from both a male and female protagonists voice. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series which I think I will start to read on the way home. 3.5 Dewey's This is from my Kobo and was not asked to review
Date published: 2011-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good read! I wasn't even finished reading Leviathan when I realized that I was going to have to go to the bookstore and get the second book in the series. That is always the mark of a good story when someone can't wait to keep going and I sincerely hope that the second book keeps the pace and interest up.
Date published: 2010-10-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dreaming of Books Review Having read one other steampunk series before, Leviathan is my second foray into the world of steampunk. Scott Westerfeld has created an imaginative world with a combination of historical facts with futuristic and fantasy elements. The story begins with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and progresses through the summer of 1914. It’s the lead up to WWI and there are two sides forming: the Darwinists (Britain, France) and the Clankers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). The story centers around two characters Alek and Deryn who are on opposing sides of the upcoming war. Alek is the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand who must flee his own country for his own safety and wait out the war. Deryn is an English girl whose dream is to be able to fly so she disguises herself as a boy in order to enter the British Air Service. One is royalty and the other is a commoner and both seemingly have nothing in common but are thrown together in the impending war. I love books with illustrations and I always take the time to look at them. The illustrations in this one made it easier to visualize the different Clanker machines and fabricated beasts and how everything would look like. I actually didn’t like the story as much as I thought I would. It has lots of action/battle scenes that made it exciting to read but I didn’t like all the talk of politics and strategy. There was lots of talk about why the Germans want to start a war and when the British would step in. It got repetitive and slowed the story down for me.
Date published: 2010-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So Cool! This was my first time reading a novel by Scott Westerfeld and in venturing into the steampunk genre, and I was quite impressed! Westerfeld puts a new spin on history, envisioning an alternate 1914 Europe full of so much imagination and creativity that captures you right from the start. The whole time I was reading, learning with each page more and more about this world that is so similar yet different from ours, I kept thinking, "This is so cool!' Europe is on the brink of war when word spreads that Archduke Ferdinand and his wife have been assassinated. Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, manages to escape with a few loyal men in a Stormbreaker, a war machine, with the hope of making it to neutral Switzerland. The task won't be easy though. Germany, and even his own countrymen are after him, and they have a long road ahead of them before they can even think about crossing the border. Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, a British commoner, dreams of joining the ranks of the British Air Service and flying. The problem? Deryn is a girl. Disguised as a boy and going by the name of Dylan, she can only hope that no one will learn her secret as she earns herself a spot on the whale-like airship, Leviathan. The beautiful illustrations that went along as you read helped me visualize the events exactly as they unfolded... if I hadn't had them, I'm afraid my mind wouldn't even be able to fathom the creatures and machines that made this story so great. The alternating viewpoints of Alek and Deryn were a pure joy to read. They're both brave, strong characters who can keeps their wits about them in dangerous situations, yet their backgrounds couldn't be more different. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about these two in Behemoth, the next book in the series, when it's released in October of this year! Leviathan will surely appeal to both boys and girls needing a novel full of adventure and excitement! You can also check out the review here: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2010/07/leviathan-by-scott-westerfeld.html
Date published: 2010-07-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If you like historical fiction you'll like Leviathan Scott Westerfeld has eloquently woven togehter historical events with his own fictional twist. At first apprehensive because i was disatisfied with Uglies, I became quite interested with the plot of Leviathan. If you like historical fiction you'll definately enjoy this.
Date published: 2010-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It will grow on you.... When I started reading this book I couldn't get over how much it reminded me of the Airborn series by Kenneth Oppel. A great series from a great Canadian Young Reader's author. The airship, the characters. I just kept coming back to Oppel's works. Maybe it was just the "steampunk" elements because Airborn and Leviathan are very different stories. Although I found it took a number of chapters to get into the story and get past my Airborn issues, I was very satisfied by the end. I will be buying Behemoth (the sequel) when it comes out (October 5, 2010) and I hope my satisfaction will grow as the story does.
Date published: 2010-04-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Ok... Like the Uglies series, Scott Westerfield demonstrates that while he has the right creativity in producing interesting stories and characters... his execution is only mediocre. This wasn't a bad read but not a particularly good one either.
Date published: 2010-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic I've always found that Scott Westerfeld's books are completely enthralling, with unique ideas and plot twists that never fail to surprise me, and this book was no different. It tells the story of two quick-thinking teenagers, one an Austrio-Hungarian prince, the other a girl dressed as a boy working as a middie on the Darwinist airships, during an alternate version of WW1. They have some interesting and creative adventures. Scott Westerfeld used some pretty futuristic ideas in this book, but as usual he described them so well that they seemed real. There weren't any plot holes or anything else to detract from the story. And the illustrations were amazing too.
Date published: 2009-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AWESOME!!!! Scott Westerfeld has yet to disappoint me with any of his books, each of his series' are unlike anything you've ever read; with wicked characters, insanely awesome plots, thrilling action along with a adventure that keeps you grasping his books until the very last word. Leviathan is NO exception...this book was so so so good! The whole idea and twist to World War I was so incredible, I loved it! There are the Germans, who have their Clankers; huge iron machines with loaded guns...And then there's the British Darwinists who fabricate animals, and use them as there weaponry. Throughout this book, You feel like you are living in their time...seeing the Clankers huge iron feet slamming into the ground sending shudders through your body, or feeling the fabricated animal's creepy presence, or looking at their monstrous bodies, and not daring to look in their eyes... The British Darwinists have the most masterful beast in the British fleet...The Leviathan. It is a huge whale airship fabricated with a whole bunch of different creatures...It roams the sky, leaving you spellbound as you look up at it. We follow two characters, switching back and forth from their perspective. Aleksandar Ferdinand, a prince, is on the run with a group of men in a Stormwalker, His people have turned on him and his title means nothing anymore. Then we have Deryn Sharp, a girl who is disguising as a boy...she is a brilliant airman, and this is her only way of entering the Service.. Deryn is now known as Dylan, and is dealing with the danger of being discovered. Alek and Deryn meet in the most unexpected way, now their adventure continues, both keeping a secret that could change their lives forever if discovered and battling in the war where Clankers roam the earth, while Leviathan roams the sky.. As soon as I started reading, I really couldn't put it down... Scott Westerfeld captures you with every page leaving you needing to know what happens next. Leviathan is a book that contains a whole new world that is completely awesome..Keith Thompson created AMAZING art for this book, bringing the story to life that much more. Loved, Loved, Loved this book!!! Can't wait to read the sequel and find out how Deryn and Alek's adventure continues!...
Date published: 2009-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Like Flying It is 1914 when Alek's parents are killed, and when Deryn embarks, as a boy, to join the Navy - but the powers of the Clankers and the Darwinists are futuristic and absolutely breathtaking in their originality and fabrications. All characters, especially Deryn, are charismatic, and lovely to follow as we tumble headfirst into their lives.
Date published: 2009-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I can't wait for the sequel! I recently finished reading the Advanced Reader Copy of Leviathan that was sent to me, and I can't even think of a word to describe it. Maybe a few words then? Wonderful, interesting, exciting, and unique - those words kind of sum it up. Leviathan is a great read, to the point of making me actually want to learn more about the true history of World War I. I don't even know what to write, what else is there to say? I loved reading Leviathan. The characters in Leviathan really pulled me in - the way they evolve and change, and grow with their new experiences that are wrought under the implications of a possible war. I'll happily read Leviathan many more times - Leviathan isn't even out officially, and yet I can't stop thinking about what may happen in the sequel! In the Afterword, it is said the Leviathan is "much about possible futures as alternate pasts". I think that describes it quite nicely.
Date published: 2009-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Alternate History / Steampunk for kids! For readers 12 and up who want some fantastic elements to make their history more palatable, there's Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, coming out in October of this year. It's an alternative history steampunk, a sub-genre that is becoming very popular. The book begins with two characters in very different circumstances. One is a girl, dressing up a boy, in order to join the British airforce. The other, Alek, is an Austro-Hungarian prince who's just been orphaned. The death of his parents sparks a war (World War I) and that's when things get interesting. The book shows many different things. There's the ideological differences of nations (Germany & Austro-Hungary on one side, France, England and Russia on the other) and religious/technical differences (Darwinists vs 'Clankers' - those who use machines). The Darwinists have created creatures from the lifethreads of various animals to perform jobs that machines do in nations that consider such tinkering abominable. Scott Westerfeld does a great job of realizing the steampunk machines on one side of the war as well as the more interesting 'beasties' on the other. My only complaint here is that the description of the airship Leviathan isn't as detailed as I would have liked. It was hard for me to picture some of the aspects of the beast. Maybe a cross-section diagram of the ship would have helped in this respect. Speaking of diagrams, the gorgeous artwork throughout the book by Keith Thompson really brings the story to life. Seeing the beasties, the mechanical walker and the characters helps one better enter this world. Beyond that, the story was tight and fast paced, though I found Alek a little tiresome as the book wore on. He never seemed to learn from his mistakes - always acting first and thinking later. Which isn't out of character as he's only 15. As an adult I simply wanted him to smarten up a bit. Be prepared to wait for the sequal. This is a great beginning, explaining the background to the war, the people and all of the technologies involved. There's definitely more to come. And the coup de grace? Westerfeld has an afterward explaining the actual history vs his imagined one - so kids can have a fun story and learn what was true and what wasn't. And it's an interesting mix.
Date published: 2009-07-10

Read from the Book

Leviathan ONE The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised. Behind them two ranks of diesel-powered walking machines stood ready to fire, cannon aimed over the heads of the cavalry. A zeppelin scouted no-man’s-land at the center of the battlefield, its metal skin sparkling. The French and British infantry crouched behind their fortifications—a letter opener, an ink jar, and a line of fountain pens—knowing they stood no chance against the might of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But a row of Darwinist monsters loomed behind them, ready to devour any who dared retreat. The attack had almost begun when Prince Aleksandar thought he heard someone outside his door… . He took a guilty step toward his bed—then froze in place, listening hard. Trees stirred in a soft breeze outside, but otherwise the night was silent. Mother and Father were in Sarajevo, after all. The servants wouldn’t dare disturb his sleep. Alek turned back to his desk and began to move the cavalry forward, grinning as the battle neared its climax. The Austrian walkers had completed their bombardment, and it was time for the tin horses to finish off the woefully outnumbered French. It had taken all night to set up the attack, using an imperial tactics manual borrowed from Father’s study. It seemed only fair that Alek have some fun while his parents were off watching military maneuvers. He’d begged to be taken along, to see the mustered ranks of soldiers striding past in real life, to feel the rumble of massed fighting machines through the soles of his boots. It was Mother, of course, who had forbidden it—his studies were more important than “parades,” as she called them. She didn’t understand that military exercises had more to teach him than musty old tutors and their books. One day soon Alek might be piloting one of those machines. War was coming, after all. Everyone said so. The last tin cavalry unit had just crashed into the French lines when the soft sound came from the hallway again: jingling, like a ring of keys. Alek turned, peering at the gap beneath his bed chamber’s double doors. Shadows shifted along the sliver of moonlight, and he heard the hiss of whispers. Someone was right outside. Silent in bare feet, he swiftly crossed the cold marble floor, sliding into bed just as the door creaked open. Alek narrowed his eyes to a slit, wondering which of the servants was checking on him. Moonlight spilled into the room, making the tin soldiers on his desk glitter. Someone slipped inside, graceful and dead silent. The figure paused, staring at Alek for a moment, then crept toward his dresser. Alek heard the wooden rasp of a drawer sliding open. His heart raced. None of the servants would dare steal from him! But what if the intruder were something worse than a thief? His father’s warnings echoed in his ears… . You have had enemies from the day you were born. A bell cord hung next to his bed, but his parents’ rooms were empty. With Father and his bodyguard in Sarajevo, the closest sentries were quartered at the other end of the trophy hall, fifty meters away. Alek slid one hand under his pillow, until his fingers touched the cold steel of his hunting knife. He lay there holding his breath, grasping the handle tightly, repeating to himself his father’s other watchword. Surprise is more valuable than strength. Another figure came through the door then, boots clomping, a piloting jacket’s metal clips jingling like keys on a ring. The figure tromped straight toward his bed. “Young master! Wake up!” Alek let go of the knife, expelling a sigh of relief. It was just old Otto Klopp, his master of mechaniks. The first figure began rifling through the dresser, pulling at clothes. “The young prince has been awake all along,” Wildcount Volger’s low voice said. “A bit of advice, Your Highness? When pretending to be asleep, it is advisable not to hold one’s breath.” Alek sat up and scowled. His fencing master had an annoying knack for seeing through deception. “What’s the meaning of this?” “You’re to come with us, young master,” Otto mumbled, studying the marble floor. “The archduke’s orders.” “My father? He’s back already?” “He left instructions,” Count Volger said with the same infuriating tone he used during fencing lessons. He tossed a pair of Alek’s trousers and a piloting jacket onto the bed. Alek stared at them, half outraged and half confused. “Like young Mozart,” Otto said softly. “In the arch-duke’s stories.” Alek frowned, remembering Father’s favorite tales about the great composer’s upbringing. Supposedly Mozart’s tutors would wake him in the middle of the night, when his mind was raw and defenseless, and thrust musical lessons upon him. It all sounded rather disrespectful to Alek. He reached for the trousers. “You’re going to make me compose a fugue?” “An amusing thought,” Count Volger said. “But please make haste.” “We have a walker waiting behind the stables, young master.” Otto’s worried face made an attempt at a smile. “You’re to take the helm.” “A walker?” Alek’s eyes widened. Piloting was one part of his studies he’d gladly get out of bed for. He slipped quickly into the clothes. “Yes, your first night lesson!” Otto said, handing Alek his boots. Alek pulled them on and stood, then fetched his favorite pilot’s gloves from the dresser, his footsteps echoing on the marble floor. “Quietly now.” Count Volger stood by the chamber doors. He cracked them and peered out into the hall. “We’re to sneak out, Your Highness!” Otto whispered. “Good fun, this lesson! Just like young Mozart!” The three of them crept down the trophy hall, Master Klopp still clomping, Volger gliding along in silence. Paintings of Alek’s ancestors, the family who had ruled Austria for six hundred years, lined the hallway, their subjects staring down with unreadable expressions. The antlers of his father’s hunting trophies cast tangled shadows, like a moonlit forest. Every footstep was magnified by the stillness of the castle, and questions echoed in Alek’s mind. Wasn’t it dangerous, piloting a walker at night? And why was his fencing master coming along? Count Volger preferred swords and horses over soulless mechaniks, and had little tolerance for commoners like old Otto. Master Klopp had been hired for his piloting skills, not his family name. “Volger …,” Alek began. “Quiet, boy!” the wildcount spat. Anger flashed inside Alek, and a curse almost burst from his mouth, even if it ruined their stupid game of sneaking out. It was always like this. To the servants he might be “the young archduke,” but nobles like Volger never let Alek forget his position. Thanks to his mother’s common blood, he wasn’t fit to inherit royal lands and titles. His father might be heir to an empire of fifty million souls, but Alek was heir to nothing. Volger himself was only a wildcount—no farmlands to his name, just a bit of forest—but even he could feel superior to the son of a lady-in-waiting. Alek managed to stay quiet, though, letting his anger cool as they stole through the vast and darkened banquet kitchens. Years of insults had taught him how to bite his tongue, and disrespect was easier to swallow with the prospect of piloting ahead. One day he would have his revenge. Father had promised. The marriage contract would be changed somehow, and Alek’s blood made royal. Even if it meant defying the emperor himself.