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Leviathan is the first of Scott Westerfeld’s [Uglies] newest series, followed by Behemoth and Goliath.  It has a distinct steam-punk theme that jumps out on the first page – and is set during World War I.  Amazon summarizes it as:

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathanis a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl 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 the Great War brewing, Alek’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

I intend to post a lengthier review in the future, but right now I am struck between the similarities between this and Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn, a book I highly recommend to anyone looking for a fantastic adventure story set in a historical era where flying, specifically by balloon, is possible.  So far, Leviathan could almost be in the same timeline, but it also features hybrid animals and metal machinery that has a more distinct steampunk feel to it.  I’m looking forward to diving into Alek’s and Deryn’s to see what someone with Westerfeld’s imagination can give us.

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