Goliath is the last in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, and it’s well worth the wait. In this steampunk alternate universe, the major world powers are divided between Darwinist and Clanker factions. Darwinists have learned how to grow modified animals to meet their needs, including giant sea creatures for naval battles, and giant hydrogen-filled floating creatures such as Leviathan where most of the action in the story takes place. Clankers, meanwhile, have perfected steam and diesel technology to the point where mechanical walking machines are common as well as a plethora of other devices. The two sides square off in World War I, with some countries using mixed technologies, such as the United States, and unwilling to immediately declare sides.
As before, readers meet a host of characters, some loosely based on our own history. Events and personalities are ably coordinated by Westerfeld, and fabulous artwork by Keith Thompson illustrates the action throughout. Of course, we’ve been waiting for Alek, the Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to learn of Deryn Sharp’s secret (she’s a girl, disguised as a boy serving as a middie on Leviathan) for two books now.
Westerfeld sends his characters off at the end with all loose ends tied up except one: the Great War itself. What happens next? In real life, the US was dragged into war with the sinking of the Lusitania. Things are altered “just a squick” as Deryn might say. Perhaps, and hopefully, Westerfeld can grace us with a continuation of the story at some point in the future. That is the highest praise I can think of to bestow on a fantasy series that is great fun to read for young and old alike.
5 out 5 stars.