Review Blog

Jan 24 2012

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

cover image

Ill. by Keith Thompson. (Leviathan Series). Penguin Viking, 2011. ISBN 9780 6 70 07305 4
(Age: 12 - Adult) Goliath, the last in the Leviathan trilogy, is a steampunk story set during WWI. For those who are still coming to terms with this relatively new genre, it has been described as the future as Victorians would have imagined it. In fact many steampunk books are set in or near the Victorian era. Think fantastic inventions of machines, gears and cogs.
Book 3 continues the adventures of Prince Alek, who is striving to reclaim his Austrian throne and Deryn a girl who masquerades as a boy so she can be in the British Air Service.
The story reflects WWI history but contains its own fantastical creatures, machines and events. The world is divided into 2 sides, the Clankers and their machinery and Darwinists who use living fabricated beasts.
At the beginning of the book Deryn and Alek are aboard the Leviathan, an airship best described as a cross between a whale and a zeppelin. The ship has been ordered to pick up a scientist, Mr Tesla who claims to have a secret weapon, 'Goliath' that can destroy a whole city and stop the war.
There are battles, lots of fighting action, intrigue as well as the drama of the continuing affections between Deryn and Alek. The wonderful illustrations by Keith Thompson add a whole other dimension to Westerfeld's invented world. They helped me gain a greater understanding of the unusual machines and a better grasp of the action.
I enjoyed reading this last book in the trilogy more than book 2 but after some internet researching, I know there are many fans of the whole series. Deryn is a strong female character (even if she pretends to be a boy) and the main feature of the book covers. Will these books have equal appeal to both genders with its mixture of fighting and romance? I am unsure but I would definitely recommend these books from 12 year olds up to adults.
A wonderful book trailer is available to help with promoting this series.
Jane Moore

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