I like it. It’s a young adult fantasy of an alternate world war one history.
It is evident Mr. Westerfeld did a great deal of research into the “story” or “trilogy” if you like. I would be critical of “historical” parallels in this story but it would be like debating if Superman is from Krypton. It’s an imaginary alternate history. Mr. Westerfeld has based some of his story on some of the popular beliefs about world war one. In that way I recommend this to young people more than I might otherwise. Perhaps it may spur some youngster to investigate the real facts of history.
I dread the fact our current actual “history” is too often transformed into fictional stories presented as true as the fictional histories of Dune, The World of Tiers, or Ringworld. So it is at this point I pray all young people ache to attend Hillsdale College. One of the last lights upon a hill that refuses to teach nonsense when it comes to history.
I digress… I liked Mr. Westerfeld’s story. Let’s get started…
Part 2 of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan story is called Behemoth. It’s listed as “Book 2” and the relationship to “book” is only in the number of pages.
In Leviathan Part 2, “Behemoth”, the story has landed in part one’s goal of Istanbul. Up to this point a VIP guest scientist, the granddaughter of “The Great Darwin” himself (in this alternate steam punk history) is forcing the Leviathan English flying creature to Istanbul where she declares her purpose is to keep the Ottoman Empire out of the war with a mysterious gift that we learn are eggs containing some “genetically designed” creature of the VIP’s own making.
Complicating things in this alternate history is Winston Churchill having confiscated a great warship built for, and already paid for, by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill is hoping his actions will keep the Turks out of the war, and additionally give Britain a military advantage having the Sultan’s warship. Mr. Westerfeld notes in the Audiobook conclusion the differences between facts and fictions, in this case Churchill actually did do something similar.
This may sound like a really complicated story but this is still fundamentally the double story of the young Austian royal child mentioned in the book Leviathan, on one hand, and the seemingly insecure “Mr. Sharp” on the other. It is the interactions between these two primary characters that kept me ever interested in the ongoing complications of the story.
“Mr. Sharp” believes “he” is barely competent, yet seems at the center of all disastrous situations, and manages to trip, stumble, or (against “his” better judgment), take action that “he’ll” probably be hung for, that usually results in a miraculous salvage from certain disaster for tens, hundreds, and even thousands of people, depending on the imminent disaster that is looming.
While we are being walked through the strategies, diplomacies, and maneuvering of an alternate steam punk version of World War One, it is still being seen through the eyes of primarily these two young people who seemed plucked from their lives and into the thick of all things, dangerous, frightful, and fattening.
Being the second book in what is actually one story divided into 3 books, there is just no getting around recommending it if you have read the first book, Leviathan.
Read in 2016 on7/13 to page 104. Completed 7/22/16.