Reviews for Behemoth


Booklist Reviews 2010 October #2
Things slow down just a wee bit in this sequel to the WWI alt-history Leviathan (2009). Here, the focus shifts more onto wartime politicking than smash-dash battling, but Westerfeld maintains a steady influx of the series' real strength--the superbly imagined mechanical contraptions and genetically crafted creatures. The bulk of the story takes place in Istanbul, as both the Clankers (Austria-Hungary and Germany) and Darwinists (England and Russia) are intent on swaying the Ottoman Empire in their favor. British midshipman Deryn (still disguised as a boy) and Prince Alek (heir-in-hiding to the throne of Austria-Hungary) continue to find themselves squarely in the thick of things en route to a nicely tied-together climax featuring the title beastie. Anyone needing a good visual for what makes steampunk so alluring should look no further than Thompson's intricate illustrations--black, white, and gray rarely look so vivid. Although there are messages about the futility of war and a burgeoning love story, this is first and foremost a high-concept action series, and Westerfeld knows how to pound a pulse while tickling the imagination. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Deryn and Alek join forces with a revolutionary group attempting to overthrow the sultan and save the Leviathan from destruction. Along the way, they discover answers to questions from the previous series entry. Steampunk master Westerfeld provides plenty of action, humor, and intrigue while building his alternate WWI history. Thompson's illustrations effectively clarify the appearances of Westerfeld's invented machines and creatures. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #6
When Leviathan (rev. 11/09) ended, unlikely friends Alek and Deryn were aboard the eponymous airship headed to Constantinople, hoping to rally support from the neutral Ottoman Empire for the Darwinist cause before their enemies, the Clankers, could sway the sultan's allegiance. In this second entry in the trilogy, the negotiations are not going well. Deryn, posing as a boy in the Darwinist British Air Service, and Alek, a secret prince and heir to the Clanker Austrian-Hungarian throne, must join forces with a revolutionary group attempting to overthrow the Ottoman sultan to "change the course of the whole barking war" -- and hopefully save the Leviathan from destruction so it can introduce a new Darwinist weapon: the behemoth. Along the way, Deryn and Alek discover answers to questions from the first book (such as the identity of Dr. Barlow's secret eggs, although the creatures' purpose remains a mystery), but the ending appropriately leaves much unanswered leading into the final book. Westerfeld is a master of steampunk, and this second book flows more smoothly than the first, providing plenty of action, humor, and intrigue while also building on his alternate history of World War I. Thompson's illustrations once again clarify the appearance of Westerfeld's new machines and fabricated creatures, continuing a collaboration that makes this blending of past and present technologies an entertaining, and even somewhat educational, read. cynthia k. ritter Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 September #2

In this sequel to Leviathan (2009), Deryn and Alek foment revolution at the onset of the Great War. They both have secrets: Deryn, a girl in disguise, serves on a living airship; Alek is secretly heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Alek ends up in Istanbul after a cinematic escape from the airship, while Deryn is stranded there after a top-secret mission. The two discover a city caught between Clanker and Darwinist powers, a city using machines and engines as the Germans do but tremulously allied to the beastie-manufacturing British. Alek and Deryn join the intrigues of a multi-ethnic secret society seeking to overthrow the Sultan. It's a racketing adventure, packed with genetically engineered beasties, human-looking machines and nosy American reporters. Though subject to all the weaknesses of steampunk--an exotic East that owes more to Orientalism than to accuracy; a romantic and exciting interpretation of exceedingly dark historical periods--it also showcases the genre's strengths: gleeful battles, well-appointed airships, wee clockwork library helpers and sea monsters. Keith Thompson's lively black-and-white illustrations suit perfectly. (Steampunk. 12-15)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 September #2

The action is nonstop in Westerfeld's thrilling sequel to last year's Leviathan--fans of that book won't be disappointed. It's 1914 in the author's alternate world, the great powers are moving toward full-scale war, and Deryn, still posing as a boy, has found a place as a midshipman aboard the gigantic, living British airship Leviathan as it sails east on its secret mission to Istanbul. When Austria-Hungary enters the conflict, her friend Alek, the runaway heir to that empire, realizes that he must escape from the airship to avoid imprisonment, giving Deryn "a chance not just to help Alek but to change the course of the whole barking war." Battles abound between eccentric fighting machines and even stranger fabricated "beasties" as Deryn and Alek prove their courage and ingenuity while putting themselves in harm's way. This exciting and inventive tale of military conflict and wildly reimagined history should captivate a wide range of readers. Thompson's evocative and detailed spot art (as well as the luridly gorgeous endpapers) only sweetens the deal. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

Gr 7 Up--This book continues the hard-driving, action-packed adventures of Alek, heir to the throne of the Austrian empire and current British prisoner of war, and Deryn Sharp, a midshipman assigned to the Leviathan. Their loyalties to their respective governments and philosophies are tested as their friendship grows; Alek is an Austrian Clanker and Deryn an English Darwinist. After the Leviathan is damaged by a German attack, Alek and his personal guard escape the airship and join a revolutionary group dedicated to the overthrow of the sultan of Istanbul. Meanwhile Deryn has been sent to sabotage a key military blockade in the Istanbul harbor. But true havoc doesn't ensue until the teens are reunited. This dynamite novel incorporates factual events of the early months of World War I: the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Churchill's confiscation of an Ottoman Empire warship, and the instability and revolution within the Empire. However, the elements of steampunk, biological and mechanical technology, sheer over-the-top adventure, and great storytelling make this a must-have addition to any speculative fiction collection. Thompson's sumptuous full-page illustrations capture the goings-on and contribute to the cinematic feel of the book.--Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

[Page 128]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2010 December
Picking up directly after the close of Leviathan (Simon Pulse, 2009/VOYA October 2009), Behemoth finds fifteen-year-old Prince Aleksandar, heir to the throne of Austro-Hungary (at least according to the Pope), and Midshipman Dylan Sharp, a girl masquerading as a boy, racing toward Istanbul in hopes of keeping the Ottoman Empire out of the conflict between the steampunk-machinist Germans and the biopunk-Darwinist British empire. Neither teen knows all of the other's secrets, but they have become friends. Their friendship is tested as Alek and part of his contingent escape the airship Leviathan and become caught up in the rising rebellion against the Ottoman sultan. In addition, Dylan (Deryn) struggles with her desire to tell Alek her true gender as she begins hoping he will see her as more than a friend. Daring escapes, secret missions, and new friends and allies abound in Westerfeld's energetic and smartly imagined alternate history. While the first book in the trilogy centers on page-turning battles between the machines of the Clankers and the beasties of the Darwinists, volume two shifts slightly to focus on equally suspenseful espionage. Characters develop nicely, and the plot is full of good, twisty science fiction thrills. Thompson's detailed "Victorian Manga" spot and full-page illustrations return to bolster the enjoyment factor. Fans will be well satisfied and likely even more impatient for the next installment, Goliath.--Timothy Capehart 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.

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