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I'm immortally interested in cultural/literary deconstructions, feminism, anti-racism, South Korea, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, Hayao Miyazaki, Diana Wynne Jones, food (including but not limited to maple butter, tomatoes, and toast), fairy tales, parentheses, paper airplanes, films and books.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Deryn's Leviathan

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.

Let me just start off by saying that I love Scott Westerfield. I've read every single one of his books and I even remember squealing with delight when I saw that he had incorporated manga in his Uglies-sequely book, Extra. He's a fantastic author. But I've always been so scared to read Leviathan. I'm not sure if it was the book cover or the fact that the characters were so young (which has never put me off before), I just didn't know why. I mean it was Scott Westerfield. In any case, the reason I chose to pick it up was because I was tumbling on Tumblr and I saw this amazing piece of fan work and I had to find out where it was from. I was surprised to see it was Deryn and Alek from Leviathan. The rest is history.

Just to be clear, I regret being this late in the game.

Leviathan is honestly one of the most incredible books I've ever read. Yes, even including the classics. It has to be in my top ten. It's the world building that got me. The first few pages didn't fully capture me until I reach Deryn's part. The originality and the description - God, I have never been in so much awe of an author before. How he managed to make this entire world so realistic, as if I was reading a part of history, is a testament to how great of a writer he is. Just like Alek, I was disgusted at first by the thought of fabricated animals and then fascinated because that's essentially what scientists are doing now. What really hit home with me was how easily comparable this book could be to the world now, about the nuclear powers all holding equally dangerous weapons and always seem like they're on the verge of war. Maybe I'm being a little bit over the top but this is the Westerfield world that I think will stay with me forever.

The relationship between Alek and Deryn was so cute that they made me smile every time they appeared together in a scene. I loved Alek more because of the way he interacted with Deryn, who was sold to me the moment I read that she just bested a whole group of boys at something that girls weren't even allowed to do. One thing that rubbed me wrong about this book was the swearing.

No, it wasn't the kind of swearing you'd read in say If I stay or Before I fall. Westerfield switched our slang for that of the early twentieth century. Unfortunately, it didn't really ring true because I felt like he just wrote with our everyday words and then changed them. I could see what bum-rag meant and barking and for the record, I get this feeling that to older readers bum-rag won't feel as authentic as say clart. Also, the swearing was jarring and I really didn't know how to get over that fact.

Despite that issue, I am still in awe of this book. It's yet another masterpiece and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel.

All in all=☆☆☆☆☆

*Summary provided by Goodreads.

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