Genre: middle grade alternate history steampunk
Length: 434 pages
Setting: England and Austria, start of WWI
Interest: I’d seen some good reviews of the book, including some favorable comments about the artwork that’s incorporated into the book, so when I saw it in the library, I picked it up.
Summary: Alek is the son of the heir to the Austrian throne, who has just been poisoned to start World War I. He escapes in the middle of the night with some loyal retainers in an armored walker. Deryn has managed to hide the fact that she’s a girl and, through a slight mishap, ends up on the giant living airship Leviathan during her midshipman’s test. She stays on Leviathan as the undertake a secret mission ferrying a special cargo of unique eggs to the Ottoman Empire. They are downed by German airships near the castle Alek has holed up in. Alek and his people help get the Leviathan back up in the air and on their way to Turkey, going along as well (for safety).
Final thoughts: The story lived up to its expectations. What makes it an alternate history novel is the Axis and Allies are also split along Darwinists (who can splice together life to create creatures to do any conceivable job) and Clankers (who use steam engines and machines to do their work). The artwork does a great job elucidating the difference between the two cultures. And for once, the main character was a girl (even if she was posing as a boy).
Because it was a YA book, it was a quick read, but a thoroughly enjoyable one. I even convinced Mr. Curiosity to read it and he found it to be an interesting book and got him into the steampunk genre. I can’t wait to read the next book since we never did find out what the eggs were for.
Title comes from: The airship Deryn flew on was named Leviathan.
Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this is a review of a book from a previous year
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