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Book Review - Behemoth

 Monday, 24 January 2011

Reviews! Reviews! Never ending stream of reviews! It's all I seem to do anymore :P

Title: Behemoth
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Date: 19/1/2011 PM
Source: Bought
Description: The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
I read Leviathan last year and pretty much fell in love with the Steampunk genre so I was counting down until I could get my mitts on the second book - Behemoth. This series is the best mix of historical fiction, fantastical invention and outlandish creatures along with the most *gorgeous* illustrations I have ever seen. Seriously why can't Keith Thompson illustrate everything I read?

This book carries on from where Leviathan ended, Deryn (or Dylan as she's known to everyone else) and Alek are travelling to Turkey aboard the massive creature Leviathan in order to deliver Dr Barlow's mysterious eggs to the Sultan in Istanbul. Only they run into a bit of trouble once they arrive and Alek has to escape from the ship to keep his identity hidden from the many German soldiers present in the city.

Despite the fact that this story is obviously *very* altered from true history I really liked how Scott Westerfeld incorporated some real people and events into the plot and got everything to work extremely well around the brilliant concepts of the Darwinists and the Clankers. It really makes you wonder what might of happened at the beginning of the 20th Century if Charles Darwin *had* discovered DNA along with evolution and been able to manipulate it to create strange new creatures. What if the Germans *had* got mechanical walkers and Tesla Cannons? It's slightly scary to consider the possibilities when you see the destructive capabilities of such inventions in Behemoth. 

Out of the characters I love Deryn the most, she's sparky and her dry sense of humour is fab plus she's from Glasgow and has a barking way with the exclamations. She really had to step up in this book to not only help her country but also to help her friend Alek and although sometimes those didn't exactly coincide she did an admirable job of not getting hung for treason :P Her interactions with Alek and later Lilit were pretty darn amusing at times and you gotta wonder how much longer it'll take for Alek to twig she's actually a girl :P

Also I absolutely adored the little creature Bovril, not least because he was actually given the name Bovril which made me chuckle immensely but because he really was the cutest little mimic you've ever seen. I'm sure it'd get kinda irritating having him repeat what you say all the time but I thought he was absolutely delightful and I will be most put out if he's not in the third book. 

Overall Behemoth was a marvellous romp of an adventure and despite the fact that the creature which gives the book its title doesn't physically appear until page 446 (of 480) I still thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this book and can't wait for Goliath which will be coming out on the 29th September 2011 *sniffs* it's a far way off but I'm sure the time will fly by.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

I really ought to try and read some other Steampunk books as it is *such* a fantastic genre, perhaps I shall pick up Soulless soon since by all accounts that is fairly steampunky in addition to its paranormal skew.

Have a barking good day chaps


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