Saturday, June 5, 2010

LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld (really, I mean it)

I posted a sorta review of LEVIATHAN  a while back.  http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2010/05/leviathan-by-scott-westerfeld.html
But, I didn't like the book well enough to finish it and post a review.  I knew it was a good book, so I handed it over to my daughter because she's a member of the target audience, Young Adult.  Well, she liked it a lot, though she lamented the utter lack of kissing scenes. Wonder where she gets that from?  Certainly not from her mother!  Anyway, here's her review, my daughter, henceforth known as Kimber, Jr.
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This is probably the most confusing book I’ve ever read. Not that it’s bad, of course-just confusing. And I loved it.

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This story starts with Aleksander Ferdinand being taken by his friends Otto Klopp, master of mechaniks, and Wildcount Volger for a supposed “night training ride” in a Stormwalker. Unfortunately, it turns out to be much more than that. See, Alek is supposed to inherit his dad’s stuff, right? Well, he can’t. Why? Because his mom’s not royal. Now they’re both dead, assassinated via poison. And all Alek’s got is his Stormwalker and his team of awesome guys.
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Meanwhile, over in London, a girl named Deryn Sharp is getting ready to take her aeronautics test. See, girls aren’t allowed in the British Army. So how’d Deryn get in? She’s disguised as a boy!
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In any case, Deryn is sent up in a Huxley, a kind of jellyfish filled with hydrogen. But when a storm blows up, she’s forced to free the Huxley from its rope, leaving her drifting with no place to land! Luckily, however, at some point a giant airship called-bingo!-the Leviathan comes and is able to rescue Deryn and the Huxley.
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Meanwhile, Alek isn’t having much better luck. He runs into an eight-legged walker called the Herkules, and boy is it unfriendly! It sends out scouts, which shower the Stormwalker with phosphorus, causing it to send out clouds of smoke! This effectively gives away its position to the Herkules, which can blow the Stormwalker into oblivion without so much as a backwards glance! Luckily, with the help of one of his father’s swords, Alek is able to hack off the phosphorus, and the Stormwalker-and all its men-get away safely.
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Back on the Leviathan, Deryn is in for a rough ride. A squadron of enemy airplanes has spotted the Leviathan, and is fixing to shoot it down.
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Luckily, all the planes are shot down. Unluckily, so is the Leviathan! It lands very near the place where Alek has arrived to wait out the war in hiding. He decides to bring medicine to the Darwinists (as Alek calls them), against Volger’s wishes. Hey, they’re supposed to be enemies, after all!
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In any case, on the way there, Alek meets Deryn, (or Dylan-Deryn’s “boy” name) and manages to simultaneously freak out a bunch of hydrogen sniffers and almost shoot a gun into a cloud of hydrogen that would then commence to blow up, thereby incinerating Alek and Deryn. Whoo.
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After that, Alek is taken onboard the Leviathan as a kind of prisoner. There he meets the Darwinian scientist Dr. Barlow and her pet Tasmanian tiger, Tazza. He also learns how to do “egg duty” for a bunch of eggs Dr. Barlow brought.
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A little later, Volger leads a mission to rescue Alek. However, they cannot ignore the wounded Leviathan! Volger agrees to go back and get food, so that the ship can produce more hydrogen and get airborne. However, Volger is forced to stay, so as to ensure the Clankers’ (as Deryn calls them) return.
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In return, Dr. Barlow, Tazza, and Deryn come along with them. But when something goes wrong, it’s Deryn who rescues them by cutting the supply sled off from the Stormwalker. You go, girl!
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Just then, a couple of enemy zeppelins come along, seeking to capture the Leviathan! Luckily, it and the Stormwalker, working together, manage to blow up one zeppelin, and chase the other off. However, the Germans now know where they are, and on top of that the Stormwalker toppled, and is now unable to get up.

Will the Clankers and the Darwinists find a way to work together in order to get back to London? And, when it comes to a showdown between the Herkules and the Leviathan, who will prevail? Sorry, you’re outta luck. I’m not in much of a blabbing-about-the-ending mood.
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Anyway, here’s the stats:
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WHAT’S GOOD:
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It’s really a cool book overall. It’s got science fiction-y parts, like the “fabricated” animals and the Walkers, and then there’s history-y parts like the war (it’s set in World War I) and the references to Charles Darwin, the famous biologist. I also love the hero and heroine, Alek and Deryn, and the Tasmanian tiger, Tazza. They’re cool.
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AND WHAT’S NOT:
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Like I said, it’s quite confusing. And it’s a bit of a cliffhanger. But what I’m really disappointed about is that Deryn never got to tell Alek she’s a girl. She almost did, but was interrupted by none other than Dr. Barlow! Grrrrr. And if she hadn’t, it would probably have grown into a kissing scene! HONESTLY! Just one more paragraph, and they could’ve kissed. Grrrr.
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Anyway, this is another awesome young adult from Scott Westerfield, author of Uglies, which I’ve read, too. Confusing, it may be, but awesome, it is also, as the wise Master Yoda may say. And he knows a thing or two about books!
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***Kimber An here.  Isn't my baby brilliant?  Mommy wuv her so much.***  (Yeah, she's going to take away my HARRY POTTER privilages for saying that, I just know it.)

2 comments:

Nayuleska said...

Lol! Great review Kimberan Jr. I loved this book (the no kissing was fine with me). The cliff hanger makes the wait for the next book all the more enjoyable!

Kimberan: I hope you get HP privileges back soon.

Kimber An said...

Ha! I showed her, I found GOBLET OF FIRE at the secondhand store. Now, I own six of the books and she can't do a darn thing about it. Mwa-ha-ha!