Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


14 Critic Reviews

This book is amazing. It's a steampunk novel, based on World War 1. There are some twists, of course.


The first novel in a masterful trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld that School Library Journal hailed is "sure to become a classic."

It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their 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.

About Scott Westerfeld

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Scott Westerfeld is the author of ten books for young adults, including Peeps, The Last Days, and the Midnighters trilogy. He was born in Texas in 1963, is married to the Hugo-nominated writer Justine Larbalestier, and splits his time between New York and Sydney. His latest book is Extras, the fourth in the bestselling Uglies series.
Published September 22, 2009 by Simon Pulse. 460 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Travel, Children's Books, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Leviathan
All: 14 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 1


on Jun 24 2010

Two Imperial forces meet, one built with steam and the other built with DNA, producing rich, vivid descriptions of the technologies that divide a continent. The setting begs comparisons to Hayao Miyazaki...but this work will stand—or fly—on its own.

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NY Times

on Nov 05 2009

Scott Westerfeld’s “Leviathan” is a tightly paced young adult novel set in an alternate version of the First World War and a welcome addition to the steampunk genre: a neo-retro period adventure.

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on Jan 19 2012

This book is amazing. It's a steampunk novel, based on World War 1. There are some twists, of course.

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Blog Critics

on Mar 21 2010

Scott Westerfeld's new steampunk/alternate history trilogy that begins with Leviathan is absolutely brilliant. I started turning pages and became entranced at once in this entertaining and captivating world.

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Booklist Online

Above average

Instead of the Victorian era most often found in the steampunk genre, Westerfeld sets his new series in a Europe hovering on the edge of World War I. The ingenious premise is that Europe is divided not only into traditional historical camps...

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Above average

The idea of living and breathing machines that rely on real food supplies and symbiotic relationships to function was interesting.

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Teen Reads

Above average
on Mar 17 2010

Whichever side you join, Scott Westerfeld and illustrator Keith Thompson make it worthwhile. LEVIATHAN is just the beginning of a new steampunk genre series that blends the future and the past.

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Above average

While likable enough, both Deryn and Alek are rather one dimensional, lacking the depth of character required for a reader to feel invested in their fates, and the supporting characters are paper-thin.

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Common Sense Media

on Oct 06 2009

A brilliant imagination and a sense of humor have blended in this excellent example of steampunk. This alternative history throws in historical figures such as Winston Churchill and Nora Darwin Barlow...

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on Oct 05 2009

...Scott Westerfeld does a lot of the things with this novel that have rightfully earned him the reputation of a great storyteller. He skillfully weaves Deryn and Alek’s stories towards their eventually meeting, keeping tension high throughout.

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Boing Boing

on Oct 06 2009

Filled with gripping air and land-battles, political intrigue and danger, science and madness, Leviathan is part Island of Dr Moreau, part Patrick O'Brien.

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The Ranting Dragon

on Feb 24 2012

Don’t start Leviathan expecting a masterpiece, because you won’t get it. But if you like history and steampunk and are looking for a solid adventure story, Leviathan is the perfect read.

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on Dec 02 2009

Leviathan is worth reading just for the larger-than-life adventures against a fascinatingly rendered backdrop of weird machines and weirder creatures — and Keith Thompson's illustrations...

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Ccls Young Adult Spot

on Mar 12 2010

A blending of historical fact with imaginative scientific leaps and technological marvels make Leviathan a thrilling steam punk ride.

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Leesha Marie

Leesha Marie 23 Jul 2014

Added the book to want to read list