Narrator: Alan Cumming
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon Pulse on 06 October 2009
Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes
Source: Purchased through Audible
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, 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 World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
Thoughts: I mostly knew what to expect going in–a unique take on steampunk, alternate history, and great characters. Still, Leviathan blew me away. I read Uglies and I should have been prepared for how creative Scott Westerfeld is, but I was still caught off guard by the world he creates in Leviathan. The book opens the night of the assassination that starts WWII. The world is divided on science (among other things). One side (the side with the Brits) are Darwinists who use DNA to create to living machines. Deryn joins the air service and ends up on the Leviathan… it is a living airship that is at once both an organism and an ecosystem. On the other side we have the Clankers, those who deal with electronics. Their ships are called walkers, because they have legs and mimic animals (although Alek would deny this).
The characters are just as well developed as the world. Alek is set to inherit the throne of Austria-Hungary, although nobody knows about it so he is on the run. He walks this really fine line for me and I still can’t decide if I like him or not. His voice and the story he is a part of? Absolutely love. But as a person, he can be incredibly ignorant, impulsive, and arrogant. Of course, these traits are balanced out by his intelligence, kind heart, and the fact that his parents just died. Deryn is much easier to like. She’s fearless, funny, and despite the fact that she is a fourteen year old girl pretending to be an older boy, good at her job. Plus, she has a thing for Alek, which makes him far more likeable. And I loved the tension of pretending to be a boy while the girl inside her is falling for a boy who also happens to be the future ruler of an entire country.
The story careens forward, intertwining with WWII, but not really being about WWII (yet, maybe). I became invested in the characters early on (even Alek) and found myself talking at my audiobook. At one point, Alek does something that puts his entire party at risk and I was yelling at the audio console of my car. There is a little bit of a mystery, because the Leviathan is on a super secret mission and I’m looking forward to the next book so that I can find out more about this mission and why it is so important.
Moments I Loved: When Deryn starts to realize that she has a crush on Alek. I know this isn’t a romance, but oh man, do I want them to work out.
WTF Moments: When Deryn takes Alek hostage. I didn’t expect it!
Narrators: Alan Cumming is fantastic. He gets the emotions of the characters and the feel of the scenes perfectly! And I love all the accents he does for the characters.
Overall: One of the most creative and unique books I’ve read in a while. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.