Thursday, July 7, 2011


Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Simon Pulse, 2010
485 pages
YA; Steampunk
4/5 stars
Sequel to Leviathan

Source: Library

After enjoying Leviathan, of course I wanted to read the sequel to follow the further adventures of Alek and Dylan (Deryn).

To my disappointment, much of the book is not set on board the Leviathan as they reach their destination of Istanbul (Not Constantinople) and become involved in thwarting German influence in the city.  However they end up back on the ship to start off the third book.  Despite my worries, the time spent in Istanbul does have a lot of interesting tidbits, including Westerfeld's alternative history and the unique combination of beasties and machines constructed by the Ottomans.

The blending of real-life with fiction was less familiar to me as I know little about the Ottoman Empire.  In this story, the arrival of German and British factions ends up coinciding with an uprising against the sultan, just as there had been earlier.  I knew the Ottoman Empire was faltering and that WWI strikes its death blow but I didn't know much beyond that.  I hope the next book discusses Russia some more as we've only had snippets and I am wondering about France, which has not been mentioned at all.  However the US is briefly mentioned as Eddie Malone, a very sharp newspaperman, plays some important roles; the US is of course neutral at the moment.

Something else I didn't like was Deryn's blossoming feelings for Alek as he remains unaware that she is female and the complication of Lillit, distinctly female but impressing herself onto a man's world, into their pairing.   Additionally more and more people figure out Deryn's secret although Alek remains adorably obtuse despite the hints thrown around.

Like the first book, there were some parts where I just wasn't as engaged but I kept pushing through, looking for more pictures and to get back into the story.  I'm not sure why those parts were less interesting to me but overall I retain a positive impression.

I already have Goliath queued on Galley-Grab so that will be an upcoming review to complete the trilogy.

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