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Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson Going into Leviathan I thought it was going to be really directed at the younger audience with the use of all those beautifully drawn illustrations. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Not just due to the illustrations by Keith Thompson, but at Scott Westerfeld's effort at creating a realistic setting, with believable and like-able characters that take the story, and unfold the plot in ways that encompass twists and turns around every corner, to bring together a climactic and definitely well written piece. In the past year I've really found a love for history and historical fiction once I began reading fictional stories about the medieval times and the fall of Constantinople, but even just WWI enthralls me. I just love this alternate history in a steampunk version of WWI Scott has captured. It's well defined and everything is believable. He used events and persons from WWI to carry the beginning of an epically crafted story.In an alternate history, Europe is headed towards a Word War. The German Clankers, with their advanced machinery, face off against the British Darwinists, with their crossbred animals. The Darwinists have a new weapon, the Leviathan, a flying whale ship. Deryn Sharp has dreams and visions of being in the air-service, but there is one problem. Only males are allowed. Through sheer determination, she disguises herself as a boy, hiding her identity from everyone, and finds herself in unusual circumstances upon the Leviathan.Meanwhile, Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand the son of Archduke Ferdinand (who was assassinated by the Serbs in Sarajevo), is woken in the middle of the night and forced to flee his home. With only a small group of men who served his father, Aleksandar faces foes at every turn. When the Leviathan lands near Aleksandar, he meets young Deryn, and their fates intertwine. And Alek has the struggle of keeping his throne business as a secret.The bond between Alek and Deryn just presents the best kind of friendship. Two kids living similar lives of secrets and haunting pasts, find strength in one another to fight every battle they are faced. These two characters are simply amazing. The two are from different worlds and it seems as if the reader is viewing two drastically different stories, until they cross.As I said, I loved the illustrations by Kieth Thompson, that just help you envision this alternate world of Scott Westerfeld's, as well as the characters. Leviathan was my first Westerfeld novel and he seriously blew my mind. It was such an original and creative concept that I have to praise him for. His storytelling is marvelous. The nature vs technology/machinery is just one thematic basis of this book, with heaps more involved. This is a book that all Westerfeld fans should read, and yes it does seem a bit too focused for the younger teens but put that aside, all ages would love this epic take on our current world-shaping history. ★★★★★.P.S. I haven't stopped using "barking" as a substitute for some words every now and then. YOU'RE BARKING MAD TO NOT HAVE READ THIS YET! There's a rebellion In Behemoth =P