REVIEW: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld



Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“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.” 


Flying whales, hot air balloon jellyfish, dart bats and giant mechanical war machines, this is probably the strangest retelling of World War One I have ever read. Scott Westerfeld, the writer of the popular Uglies series, has delved into the world of all things steampunk and alternative history with this unique series.

Leviathan manages to creates a world that is both new to the reader but familiar at the same time. It is set at the outbreak of World War One and follows a character on either side of the war. Alek, an Austrian prince, and Deryn, an English officer who pulling a Mulan throughout the whole novel. Both main characters are equally interesting and well developed so it is hard to pick a favourite between the two.

The only real problem I had with this novel was that is very much felt like a set up novel for the rest of the series. It could be a little slow at points but at the same time you can understand why while reading it so you keep plowing through it. It was not until halfway through the novel that I became fully hooked on it, possibly because that was the point where they introduced a Tasmanian tiger into the story and I find them adorable. I want people to bring those cuties back from the dead Jurassic Park style because they are adorable and weird.

If you are interested in reading this book I would highly recommend buying it in physical form instead of getting an ebook version because it is illustrated and personally I found that the ebook file sort of lost a lot of the detail that was included in the wonderful sketches in the book. I am planning on buying myself a proper copy of the book so I can have all of the pretty pictures.


I gave this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com. I will be reading the rest of the series because I am curious about how everything is going to pan out.

If you have read Leviathan feel free to let me know what you thought of it below. I am also interested in reading more steampunk style literature so I am open to reading suggestions.

Also vote on my poll here to help me decide what book I should read next.

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld”

  1. I don’t usually read MG but I really loved this series. I especially enjoyed the hero worship the male lead had for Deryn! She’s awesome and cross dressing will never get old for me as a trope. I also loved the setting and the creative blend of steampunk with alternate history.

    1. The hero worship Alek had for Deryn was one of my favourite things about this book. I cant wait to see how he reacts when he finds out she is a girl. I love Deryn. We need more crossdressing characters in books because it never gets old, especially when they are badass military ladies. Most steampunk I have seen is set in the 19th century so the whole World War One setting in this series was different. I cant wait to read the rest of it.

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