A delightful speculative work of fiction, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is a rollicking romp through an alternative history of Great War Europe.
In Westerfeld’s world, the British have advanced knowledge of animal DNA, and can breed exotic species to serve their many needs. Giant sea creatures are protectively tethered to their navy’s warships. Giant hydrogen whales serve as dirigibles. Small message lizards scurry though conduit to parrot back missives from their senders.
Meanwhile, the Continent has charted a different course, following a mechanized plan to serve mankind. The Germans and Austrians, in particular, are adept at producing excellent machines, and have achieved similar ends through inventions rather than biological means.
Into this mix we meet Deryn Sharp, who wishes to serve crown and country aboard one of those magnificent airships / flying whales. Since she’s a young girl, she must perforce disguise herself as a boy to become a middie. Soon, through a confluence of events, the murdered Archduke Ferdinand’s son, Prince Aleksandar, boards the ship, and misadventure along with potential romance ensues.
This is a very well written series, and most definitely a page turner. Penned ostensibly for younger readers, fans of science fiction and alternate histories of all ages will thoroughly enjoy all three books.
Five out of five stars.
Other books in this series: