Do you oil your machines? Or feed them?

Leviathan Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars  This book is fantastic and fun, with nonstop adventure, terrific illustrations, and has a really cool alternate history premise: it's a "steampunk" version of World War I. Countries such as England and Russia are "Darwinists" (they breed genetically altered animals to use as airships, ground vehicles, weapons, etc.) while Germany and Austria-Hungary, among others, are "Clankers" (or "Mechaniks")--they engineer giant 2-legged walkers (think of the scout walkers from Return of the Jedi, only in 1914) and other steam-powered machines to do all their work. Plus, they despise the Darwinists for being "godless"--but the darwinists can't understand why Clankers prefer machinery over living beings. Enter Aleksandar, 15, son of the Archduke Ferdinand and suddenly orphaned and on the run from assassins. The other main character is Deryn, a cheeky Scottish girl who goes undercover as a boy to join the English air navy and learn to pilot bizarre hydrogen-exuding flying creatures (imagine if your hot-air balloon was actually alive!) and giant living zeppelins. Their two paths collide quite dramatically, and there's several creature vs. machine battle scenes, dead-of-night escapes, political intrigue, and other fun. I can't wait for book two to get here, whenever that will be. if you like the airship adventures in Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, you'll love this book. View all my reviews here >>