Sunday, February 26, 2012
Westerfeld gets things rolling in the first book, Leviathan, with the murder of the Archduke of Austria and the initiation of World War I. In this alternate history the world is divided into Darwinists and Clankers.
Countries that are Darwinist, such as Britain, embrace evolutionary biology to create their airships, vehicles, and communication methods. Their technology is grounded in the manipulation of biology. Countries that are Clanker, such as Germany and Austria, thrive on technology built on iron, steel, and other metals.
But this is more than a story about war and opposing technological views, but the tale of the recently orphaned, on the run, Prince Alek of Hohenberg and Deryn Sharp. Deryn wants nothing more than to fly. But unfortunately, being a girl is a problem as the British Air Service does not enlist females. When she disguises herself as a boy, Deryn's path crosses with Prince Alek's and together they begin an adventure on the Leviathan, a massive British airship.
I listened to Leviathan (book 1) and Goliath (book 3) on audio book, but I read Behemoth (book 2). The narrator, Alan Cumming, does a phenomenal job giving each character a unique accent--with such a multicultural cast this is quite a feat. It wasn't until I read Behemoth that I discovered all the amazing illustrations by Keith Thompson I had been missing out on! So whether you read or listen to this series, you are in for a treat.
Once you finish the series, check out Scott Westerfeld's blog, where he has posted a pretty awesome bonus chapter that takes place at the end of the trilogy.