Westerfeld, Scott. Behemoth. Illustrated by Keith Thompson. Simon Pulse, 2010. ISBN 9781416971757. $18.99. 485 p.
Reviewer: Tessa McMillan
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fiction; Science fiction;
Subject: Imaginary creatures--Juvenile fiction; War--Juvenile fiction; Genetic engineering--Fiction; Books--Reviews;
In an alternate WWI scenario, the living British airship, Leviathan, arrives in Istanbul to convince the sultan to support the Darwinists. While negotiating with the sultan Deryn, a british girl disguised as a soldier, helps Alek, the Prince of Hapsburg, escape from the Leviathan. But instead of fleeing from Istanbul, Alek feels that he must stay and support the underground resistance group—The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)—to bring down Germany’s influence. Deryn is sent on a secret mission to destroy kraken nets set up by the German navy. Once the nets are down, England’s newest fabricated sea monster, Behemoth, can destroy the German ships that are blocking supplies to the Russian army and threatening the Leviathan. Once her mission is done, Deryn joins up again with Alek and helps the CUP destroy a Tesla cannon. Returning to the Leviathan, Alek and Deryn return to the Leviathan, but now Deryn’s secret and Alek’s chance to regain the throne may be compromised.
Westerfeld’s sequel is an original retelling of history through a science fiction standpoint. Alek and Deryn are well-developed characters set in the genre of “steampunk” literature. These books may not be for young readers because of the violence and sophisticated science. This is the second book in the Leviathan trilogy.
Volume 31, no. 3 (January/February 2011)
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