Thursday, October 27, 2011

"'I guess it works on princes too."

 How many of you have heard of Scott Westerfeld? He is a young adult author who is mostly well know for a series of books titled, Uglies. There are four in this series. Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras. I don't know much about this series, our library doesn't have the first one and I refuse to read out of order. However, I DO know about his other series.

 This post is full of spoilers so unless you are River, Pond, or Song I would suggest you don't read it unless you have read Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series.



 I first picked up Leviathan this summer. I was wanting something new to read and the cover was so cool, and I was excited to see there was a second book. So, I thought I would give it a try. Before this I had heard nothing of Steampunk, but from the first line I was drawn in. I was fascinated by the world Mr. Westerfeld wove, and I loved Alek and his Walker. By the time I got to the part where Alek jumps out of the Walker to hack of the flare with an ancient sword I was hooked.

 I eagerly started the second book, which I haven't done in awhile. I've really not found any good books lately, because we have the puniest library on the planet. But, that said, I even went so far to buy the two books for my Nook, and just before Goliath came out I bought them in hard copy. Then I bought Goliath the day it came out. It is because of these books I am writing mine, love airships, and have such a huge interest in Steampunk. That said, this is my review on the last book, and probably the first two.

 If you are reading this you might already know what the series is about, but I will tell you anyways. There are two characters in the book. One is Alek, the Austrian-Hungry prince who has to flee from his people when his parents are killed. His mother was a commoner and, as such, he cannot take the throne. He has a letter from the Pope which will make him ruler, but he has to wait for his uncle to die. Till then he must flee for his life.

 The other is a girl named Deryn Sharp. Deryn's one dream is to fly so she dresses like a boy, calls herself Dylan, and joins the British Air Force. She soon finds herself on board the living airship, the Leviathan. The ship travels to the Swiss Alps where it crashes, and it is here that Alek is hiding out. He goes off to help the crew and for his pains is somewhat kidnapped and somewhat rescued by the crew. Now he and Deryn, who are enemies, must work together.

 The second book finds them in Istanbul where Alek jumps ship and joins a rebellion. He is later joined by Deryn who got separated from the ship. She joins in the rebellion and together they and some others help free Istanbul. This book, Behemoth, was very exciting and had a very cool battle at the end. I loved the train. And, I also came to like and dislike Eddie Malone a lot - the nosy, too smart American reporter.

 Now, by this time Deryn has come to love Alek but he has no clue she is a girl. Also, he has told her often that he will not marry a commoner so his children won't have to go through what he has had to. This makes it hard for Deryn to reveal her secret to him though he has told her all his.

 So, the final book opens with them heading out on a secret mission. They head to Russia where they have to pick up a special passenger, the inventor Nikola Tesla. This man claims he can stop the war with a weapon he has built and Alek, who feels it is his duty to end the war, wants to help. Deryn doesn't believe Tesla but she cannot convince Alek. And everyone else with any brains is uncertain as to whether they can trust this man or not.

 The story takes place as they are traveling to America to take Tesla to New York. And along the way, Alek learns that Deryn is a girl, and also realizes the reason she  never told him is because she loves him. For awhile this hurts their friendship, but then they make peace, with Deryn accepting that he can never love her. As she says, "The Pope can't write letters to make common girls into princess."

 This all changes the night the two of them are caught on top of the airship in a storm. While running to a place of safety Alek falls and hits his head. Deryn rushes to his aid only to find he is fighting trying to stay awake. She starts talking to him but again he falls asleep, so she kisses him. I don't really like it when unmarried characters kiss, but this part was rather funny. The moment she kisses him, Alek wakes up and she says, "I guess it works on Princes too."

 I think it was about that time that Alek started to love her, but the real moment was when Tesla was about to fire up his weapon, which would shoot out lightening. When Alek realized that the airship, which had Deryn on board, would blow up if this happened, he knew he had to stop the man before Deryn died. That part was cool as well.

 Now, the best things I liked about this book was that Alek realized Deryn was a girl and that she loved him without her having to tell him. Of course, he had a little help in learning that she was a girl, but it was done in such a cool way that I didn't mind. 8-D

 I also loved the ending, when Alek throws his letter into the sea and decides to join Deryn as a spy instead so they can be together. I mean, really, how cool is that?! The sad part, I was wanting to know how Volger would react to this. I bet it would be terribly funny.

 The book also had some good battles, any book with battles rates high in my mind. I love how they went to nearly every part of the world, how they ran into Toyota, and how Bovril  said it slowly so readers like me caught it. Oh! And I LOVED the scene when the Lortis - is that what Bovril was? Put on the mustache! SOOO funny! Sucha cute picture! And I was SO completely shocked that Dr. Barlow didn't know Deryn was a girl! I did NOT see that one coming. I thought she knew in the first book.

 All in all, this book had a very good, satisfying ending. There was enough left hanging that the reader has room to imagine the afterward bits, and enough tied up that we aren't wondering about all the important stuff. And, it is safe for me to say, this series is now one of my favorites!

 You can learn more about Scott Westerfeld here, his offical site, http://scottwesterfeld.com/

 Allons-y!

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