November 5, 2011

Review : Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Title : Behemoth
Author : Scott Westerfeld
Reading Dates : 15 Sep - 17 Sep 2011
From Amazon :
This book continues the hard-driving, action-packed adventures of Alek, heir to the throne of the Austrian empire and current British prisoner of war, and Deryn Sharp, a midshipman assigned to the Leviathan. Their loyalties to their respective governments and philosophies are tested as their friendship grows; Alek is an Austrian Clanker and Deryn an English Darwinist. After the Leviathan is damaged by a German attack, Alek and his personal guard escape the airship and join a revolutionary group dedicated to the overthrow of the sultan of Istanbul. Meanwhile Deryn has been sent to sabotage a key military blockade in the Istanbul harbor. But true havoc doesn't ensue until the teens are reunited. This dynamite novel incorporates factual events of the early months of World War I: the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Churchill's confiscation of an Ottoman Empire warship, and the instability and revolution within the Empire. However, the elements of steampunk, biological and mechanical technology, sheer over-the-top adventure, and great storytelling make this a must-have addition to any speculative fiction collection. Thompson's sumptuous full-page illustrations capture the goings-on and contribute to the cinematic feel of the book. - Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Book Review of Behemoth.

I loved Leviathan but Behemoth was much, much better. Right from the start, Scott Westerfeld sets the stage with plenty of action, intrigue and tension. Even before I had gotten to the half way point, I was already wishing I had Goliath in hand because I didn’t want to have to stop.

There are a few reasons why I love the series but specifically for this book, it was mostly due to the heroine. Deryn shines here with her resourcefulness and resilience. It is frequently her actions that save the day and especially Alek. Even sweeter and touching, are the risks she takes for him despite believing that what she feels is foolish. So, I just can’t help but root for her to find that happy ever after even if the situation does look impossible right now.

As for Alek, I found it funny how amazingly dense he is about Dylan’s identity. With the growing number of people surrounding him learning of Dylan’s secret, I just can’t wait to see his reaction when he finally figures it out. At the same time, I found his determination to always do right rather endearing and worrisome since a number of his allies seems to have their own agenda.

Still, the best part of the book is definitely the final battle. This is where we get to see what Clanker and Darwinist technologies are capable of. Just imagining that such things might be possible in our world is pretty exciting stuff.

Right now, this book has been included in my list of Top 10 reads of the year.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? Yes.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Yes. I'm eagerly anticipating the next book.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? Definitely.
  • Who would I recommend this too? All Young Adult or Fantasy readers.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Buy it. The series is definitely a keeper.

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