Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 25, 2010
Read it in: 3 days
What can I say? Scott Westerfeld has me totally hooked. I LOVE this series! The first book, Leviathan, was amazing, and Behemoth, its sequel, does not disappoint. In fact, if anything, I liked Behemoth even more, since I already knew the characters and the back-story to the plot. Sometimes it's difficult to get into the first book of a series because there's so much explanation and things to remember, but with Behemoth, I could easily get right into the action-packed story.
The year is 1914 and WWI has begun: British and Russian "Darwinists" against German and Austro-Hungarian "Clankers." The Darwinists have their fabricated creatures while the Clankers fight with their iron machinery. In the midst of the Great War, two friends from opposite sides are brought together by fate: Deryn, a girl disguised as a boy to fight for the British Air Service, and Alek, son of the murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire...
OK, so first of all, I love Deryn and Alek, the two main characters. They're both great by themselves, but put them together and their personalities compliment and play off of one another perfectly. Deryn is sharp-witted, and fearless with a tough exterior, while Alek is slightly haughty and sheltered but compassionate and always ready to take on his new role as future-emperor. You could really see their friendship grow in this book, with Alek becoming more of an active leader in the war, and Deryn having to struggle with whether or not to tell Alek that she's actually a girl-- that was very interesting to follow!
Westerfeld's inventions and world-building are pure genius, and the illustrations by Keith Thompson, once again, are absolutely stunning and add so much to this book. I really can't believe how talented both the author and the illustrator are, or how closely their imaginations line up to create a completely fantastic yet believable world.
Also-- I said the same thing about Leviathan, but I'll say it again-- if you aren't the type of reader who usually goes for books about wars and guns and machines, don't get scared away by the plot summaries for this series. Honestly, when I started Leviathan I thought I'd either hate it or be bored to tears, because WWI doesn't interest me at all. But Westerfeld is such an incredibly talented writer that I was pretty much dragged into the story before I knew what was happening! Now I'm practically devouring these books.
I really can't say how much I loved this book, and this series. It was just so much fun, and so easy to read-- the characters, the witty dialogue that made me laugh out loud, and the crazy action-packed plot all made Behemoth such an awesome book. If you haven't ever read anything by Scott Westerfeld, I would highly recommend giving him a shot. This series in particular has far exceeded any expectations I had for it, and I can't wait to get into Goliath!