Behemoth is written by Scott Westerfeld and was published in 2010 by Simon Pulse. It is the second in the Leviathan trilogy (my review of the first book, Leviathan, can be found here). Westerfeld’s website can be found here.
Genre: Steampunk, Middle Grade(ish)
“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.”
“As the old man took the field glasses, the flickering lights grew brighter—Alek could see them with his naked eyes now. Shimmers slid along the struts of the tower, like nervous snakes made of lightning….
“Rubber,” Alek said softly. “They’re protecting everything with rubber. That whole tower must be charged with electriks.”
Klopp swore. “I should have realized. But they only showed us toys and demonstration models, never one that huge!”
“Models of what?”
The old man lowered the glasses. “It’s a Tesla cannon. A real one.”
“To those who listen carefully, the perspicacious loris can be quite helpful.”
“Helpful?” Deryn asked. “How, exactly?”
“By being perspicacious, of course.”
Recommended Age Range: 12+
What I Liked:
Westerfeld has only added to his fantastic setting of Leviathan with new creatures, new mechanical objects, and new action. While I didn’t think that Leviathan had much of a plot, being more of a set-up book, I think that Behemoth has a great one, plus more daring feats and dangerous situations that are always fun to read. Deryn is as snarky as ever and one of the situations that she finds herself in is realistic and adds not only to the tension, but to the sheer frustration and anxiety of the reader (i.e. me) which shows connection to the characters.
Once again, the illustrations really added to the reading experience, and the map (which is different from the first book) is simply beautiful in an our-enemies-are-looming-over-us, propaganda-comic way.
Also, the perspicacious loris (a.k.a. Bovril) is amazing. I want one.
What I Didn’t Like:
The book dragged a bit in some parts, but not for very long. That’s all I really have to say.
Behemoth definitely improves on the world and plot that Westerfeld set up in Leviathan. This book has got me really excited about the third book, Goliath; more than Leviathan got me excited for Behemoth. That’s what good writing/setting/plot will do.
Coming Up Next: A two-week break, then either The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley on July 17th, or something special.