Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This steampunk novel takes place at the beginning of World War I but presents an alternate history where Europe is split into Clankers and Darwinists. The Clankers have developed an army of mechanical weapons including big machines that walk on two legs. The Darwinists have found ways to fuse the DNA of many animals to make huge, living "beastie" airships. Alek is a Clanker and the heir to the throne in Austria-Hungary who is on the run after his parents are assassinated. With two trusted advisors he is fleeing to neutral Switzerland in a mechanical walker trying to stay hidden and ahead of the rebels who want to kill him as well. Deryn is a girl in Darwinist England who dreams of flying. Since girls are not allowed into the air service she disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the crew of the Leviathan, a Darwinist creation of whale and hydrogen producing animals. When the Leviathan crashes into Switzerland near where Alek is hiding out the two find that they must rely on the enemy in order for both of them to survive.

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