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LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld

TITLE: Leviathan

AUTHOR: Scott Westerfeld

LENGTH: 448 pages

SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

BRIDGE: Clearly, this book has applications in a history class. One could use this to dissect the events leading up to WWI and how Westerfeld has played with history for his fictional purposes. By creating parallel timelines for events in Westerfeld’s book and in history, students could use the analyzation and compare/contrast skills to discuss the liberties Westerfeld has taken with the actual historical events. This book could also be used in a SCIENCE class to analyze the probability of creating the Darwinist “beasties” as described in the book. Students in an ART  class could also use the descriptions given in the book to create drawings or scale models of the “beasties” and mechanical constructions described in the book.

READERS: Fans of adventure stories and historical fiction will enjoy this series. And, of course, fans of Steam-punk will LOVE this series. The series will engross readers of all ages and can be read on multiple levels. The audio book is phenomenal with the narrator, Alan Cumming, doing superb accents to embody the Austrian, English, and Scottish characters.

OTHER TITLES: Readers who enjoy this book will also enjoy The Infernal Devices books by Cassandra Clare, The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer, or ShipBreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi


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