I liked it, 3 of 5 stars and recommend it specifically to alternate history fantasy fans, science fiction and fantasy fans, generally to young adults, and finally to all comers who enjoy good fiction.
Goliath is the final book in an alternate history fantasy series that takes place in an altered World War I era. In the imaginary world various country’s have adapted one of two technologies. One is primarily organic where people have altered DNA of animals to suit the purposes we would generally think of as technology. They are referred to a Darwinist. Leviathan, the first book is named after, is a giant dirigible war aircraft developed by altering the DNA of a whale. The details are an interesting creative idea. Alternately various other country’s technology is based on mechanical constructions, but in this imaginary work the “Clankers” fashion their machines based largely on biology. For example armored vehicles built to engage in war walk on various number of legs depending on the vehicle.
Within this world, starting at the first book ”Leviathan”, one of our primary characters is Dylan a young heroic character who’s driving force is the love of flying. Dylan, an avid Darwinist, has secret that has been hidden well throughout the series, but if ever discovered would ruin everything Dylan has ever desired. Alek is a young noble and heroic Clanker who has become entwined with the adventures of the great warship Leviathan quite by accident and he too has a multitude of secrets that from ”Leviathan”, through ”Behemoth” and now in ”Goliath” come out usually intentionally by Alek in order to give him and his companions a temporary advantage or prevent them from imminent disaster.
While the war rages on in this series it is primarily about a complex relationship between Dylan and Alek.
One aspect of this series that kept me interested is how Mr. Westerfeld has incorporated real characters of the era into the events of his imaginary history. In this book Tesla plays a large role, along with his technologies. He even has a significant place for the meteoric disaster at Tunguska. Graciously Mr. Westerfeld has afterwords in each of the books in this series where he explains his research, what is true, where he took liberties with the real facts of the era. Oddly, this actually adds to the fascination with the series.
My first encounter with Mr. Westerfeld was with theUglies series where Tally Youngblood’s only desire was to become a Pretty on her upcoming birthday, in another fascinating world hallucinated by this wonderful author. I would recommend that series as well although at the end of the second book of that series I was distraught at the direction the series had taken. It was over a year before I decided to read the next book.
The narrator on this series is Alan Cumming who many people would recognize from The Good Wife in his roll as the political consultant Eli Gold. His accomplishments are massive. Check his page on the Internet Movie Database! Looking over his official site my first impression is to get Starz to cast him as Lord John Grey in an Outlander spin off.
Images: Self (Star Ratings Chart), giphy.com (Thumbs up), I.imgr.com (map), Tesla Society (Tesla Tower), Scientific American (Tunguska), scottwesterffeld.com (Book Cover)