Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Recommended Reading #1 - Leviathan and Behemoth

Having previously worked at a retail/bookstore the name Scott Westerfeld was very familiar to me. I knew him as the author of "Uglies",and "Specials" but I never looked beyond the cover of those. Aside from manga,comic books, and some fantasy novels, I'm not much of a reader.

Well, now that my computer is half dead, I found myself with a little more free time. So I started browsing through some book titles at a local Target, and one caught my eye. "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld. It seemed to be an alternate retelling of the first World War, but with a steampunk edge to it. Personally, I'm not completely well-versed in steampunk, but I love it's visual aspect. Simply put, it just looks freakin' cool.

I bought a paperback copy of Leviathan and was completely enthralled with the stories of Alek and Deryn. It only took five days to read, and that's saying a lot for me. The world of 1914 came to life with massive "Stormwalker" war machines, and fabricated monsters, which also serve as flying airships. I'll let the above trailer speak for the plot of the book, because I would end up just posting a ton of spoilers otherwise. I'll add that the illustrations by Keith Thompson really bring something special to the story.

When I purchased Leviathan, I noticed that part two of the "Leviathan Trilogy" was out, called Behemoth, so I went ahead and picked that up too, the same week. By the way, Behemoth just came out in October this year.
I read the whole thing the same day I got it, and it was truly fantastic. It's even better than Leviathan, and Westerfeld introduces us to even more Stormwalkers, beasties, and some new allies for Deryn and Alek. Keith Thompson once again rules the art board with some of his fantastic drawings, depicting the protagonist's' experiences and the epic battles. Having firmly established the backgrounds of Deryn and Alek in the first book, Scott Westerfeld puts them to the test physically this time. Alek has to pilot a different kind of walker, continue running, and deal with people who may or may not know who he really is. Deryn has to be even more resourceful to keep her secret, learn to trust, and survive in the face of death numerous times. After this book, I really loved Deryn Sharp. She's really one of the best characters ever!

There won't be any more spoilers from me, but I think you'll really love these two books. I recommend treating yourself to them if you're a lover of fictional or alternate time lines, and Scifi action adventure. I'm eagerly awaiting the third book, which is called Goliath.

Now, if only Miyazaki would animate them!
Thanks Mr. Westerfeld for writing such incredible novels, I'm sure I'll be reading your other works very soon!