Find it at a local indie!
- Why I read it: Scott Westerfeld, series I love, STEAMPUNK!
- Disclosure: Purchased a final published hardcover edition at my local indie.
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.Oh steampunk. From my first taste of you with The Golden Compass to the utter delightful nerdiness of Leviathan, you have never let me down, and this book is no exception. You spent a week torturing me in the form of Behemoth from the window of Rainy Days Bookstore, with its pretty illustrations of corsets and goggles and beasties, and promise of crazy science fair adventures just as intense as the first book, until I had to cave in and buy it before it went to paperback. The pace picked up from the first book, it continued to dazzle me with a fine addition to your steampunky world of awesome, and I hoped it would never end even as I turned the last page. I may dress up for the Renaissance Faire every year, I am a book geek fangrrl, but nothing has quite tickled my geeky fancy the way you have, steampunk, and for that I thank you.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.
This book is still sitting on my bedside table even though I finished it three weeks ago just so I can pore over its cosplay-esque corset-and-swashbuckling illustrations and my favorite scenes over and over again. The writing still isn't high literature, but in a way, that makes it better. These books make me nostalgic for the days when science and math were Shiny New Things that held limitless possibilities, and not things that made me bang my head against the wall repeatedly. Don't get me wrong, I plan on majoring in science (botany!) and it still gets me all excited to read up on new discoveries, but algebra...kind of kills things, just like WWII did in the collective Western psyche. Steampunk is all about recapturing that optimism about the future that we lost with postmodernism, and Scott Westerfeld somehow makes it about kids growing up, too. *tear* (Damn you, Toy Story 3! Andy! Sob! WHY AM I GETTING SO OLD??? Waaah.)
Beyond that little tangent, it's hard to sum up exactly what I like about these books. Is it the campy pseudo-swears? ("Barking spiders!" "Dummkopf!" These guys might as well be saying "Aw shucks!") The whole alternate-universe thing that you wish had actually happened? (Yes! Yes! I want a giant metal elephant! And my own Bovril!) The sweet, not-quite-believable-but-still-adorable Dylan/Deryn and Alek romance? (Which begins to dip its toes quite cheekily and hilariously into even campier waters in this novel. Has he guessed? Or is he...gay? Oh, forget it, I love him anyway! Aw shucks! was pretty much what 95% of Deryn's internal dialogue boiled down to, whereas Alek was just clueless.) If there's one thing Scott Westerfeld is great at, it's making me giggle while simultaneously making me gag (Peeps) or roll my eyes (So Yesterday) or go oh bubbly (Uglies) or have a geeky spazz attack (these books). This and Leviathan, while they do have their own following, are seriously, seriously underrated by and large, and I can't recommend them more highly. Behemoth is every bit as good as Leviathan, and I am counting down the days until Goliath. Five out of five stars.