Saturday, August 13, 2011

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

This is the second in the Leviathan Trilogy - the story of Deryn Sharp - midshipman on the fabricated airship Leviathan for the British Army at the start of WWl. Deryn is hiding a deep secret - he is a girl! But that is not the secret hidden away in this installment. Alek - future king of Austria - is also hidden away on the Leviathan. As are three eggs waiting to hatch with fabricated 'beasties' of some sort.

The story picks up where Leviathan ended. The huge ship is making it's way to the Ottoman Empire to drop off the beasties. On the way they pursue two German ironclad ships - a seemingly simple task. After all, the Leviathan is a huge airship. But the German ships have a new weapon hidden on their decks - a Tessla cannon. We might call it a lightening cannon. One shot of that cannon an lightening strikes any and all metal surfaces.

As the Leviathan moves closer to the Ottoman Empire the world becomes filled with Clanker machines - huge moving robots shaped like elephants, Gollums, waking beds and an Orient Express train that can walk and grab things. It's a world of machines belching black smoke and filling the air with their clanks and whirs. It is also a world on the brink of war. The streets are filling up with Germans as the Sultan decides whether to side with the Brits or the Germans. One side offers him fabricated beasts like the Leviathan and the other amazing machines like the Orient Express.

With the help of Deryn and an escaped Alek the resistance forces help the new Sultan decide which side to join.

This is a good installment. Full of action and intrigue. I like Deryn and I want her to succeed - but as she falls in love with Alek I don't really think there is any hope. Too many secrets.

And... I would love to fly on the Leviathan - a hydrogen filled whale! Or the amazing human kite that Lillit flies away on...maybe sometime!!!

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