Reviews tagging 'Blood'

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

1 review

bluejayreads's review against another edition

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 I first read this book back in 2012, and I enjoyed it so much that it landed on my Top Five Favorites of the year. (Unfortunately, I read it before I started this blog in September 2012, so I don't have a review from my first read-through.) It was my very first foray into steampunk and got me hooked on the genre, and when I discovered my library had it as an audiobook I decided to give it a reread and see if it holds up nine years later. 

I didn't read the back cover before jumping into the book, and I had legitimately forgotten that Aleksander existed as a character, so that was a bit of a surprise when I started reading. But it didn't take me long at all to get back into the swing of the story. 

Leviathan is set in an alternate universe where Charles Darwin not only discovered evolution but also DNA, and many parts of Europe jumped right into playing with genes to make specialized creatures to replace machines. Deryn works on an airship that's really a giant living whale, designed so its digestive system creates hydrogen that makes it lighter than air and for it to be mostly hollow so humans can climb in and around it and carry stuff inside its living body. Aleks's country is one of the parts of Europe that thought playing with DNA was ungodly and instead used actual machinery and giant mech robots to do stuff. They can't heal themselves like the Darwinist living creatures can, but they also don't have minds of their own, so it's a trade-off. When Aleks and Deryn meet, there's a delightful clash of cultures along with all the adventure of Aleks running for his life and Deryn working on a living airship. 

This is one of those books where there's not much to it - it's mostly devoid of Morals, Important Themes, Literary Importance, or anything else deep and meaningful lurking beneath the surface - but hot damn is it fun. Though there are emotions and tension, they aren't strong enough to create anything I might call an emotional core (though I definitely wouldn't say it's emotionless and I absolutely enjoyed the characters." There are quite a few darker bits, as one might expect from an alternate version of the start of World War I, but on the whole it's an absolute delight of insubstantial entertainment. 

I do wish I had a review from the first time I read this to see if/how my opinion changed over the years, but this definitely holds up to a reread. I fully intend to read the rest of the series eventually (my library doesn't have the other books on audio, but I'm gonna request them). I know I read Behemoth before, but I don't think I ever got to the conclusion of the trilogy. Either way, this book was incredibly fun and I can't wait to keep going. 

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