Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: September 2011
Pages: 560 pages (hardcover)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone or series: Third and final book in the Leviathan trilogy.
Why I read it: Loved the first two in the series (review of 1st book, Leviathan, here)
Source: The library
Let’s start out with a bold statement, shall we? This is the best YA adventure series I’ve read in years. Seriously. I glommed the 1000+ pages of the final two books in this series in 2 days and even live tweeted my reading of Goliath. (While it could be called YA steampunk, fantasy, historical, etc I’m just going to call it adventure ;)
So why is this is the best YA series I’ve read in years? Well, I love adventures with scenes that make sense, scenes that are necessary to move the action of the story forward, as well as the growth of the characters as well as the development of their relationships with each other. Sometimes action scenes can seem redundant, or the travel/road journey parts too long, but in this series, and Goliath especially, every scene and interaction absolutely served a purpose to the overall arc of the story. The timing of revelations, the way Alek, or Deryn, or the lady boffin Dr. Barlow all reacted were so poignant they kept me so engaged as a reader.
There is absolutely something for everyone, there are battles between bats dropping metal spikes and giant squids, blimps made of fabricated whales versus a rubberized ship with electricity shooting cannon, Deryn with naught but a handful of spices against dangerous men hijacking super-sized elephants. There’s political intrigue, a reimagined World War I, travel to turn-of-the century Japan, New York and even Mexico.
There’s romance…oh the romance! Subtle but powerful! I mean, how could I not adore this series with a dedication page like this?
Alek and Deryn were faced with some difficult choices, and were separated for some important, and dangerous events, but I loved how they were always thinking of each other, and although young, I was continuously impressed on how they handled themselves in the war-torn world. Their behavior was believable as Westerfeld deftly portrayed their struggles on how they would handle the tough situations as they talked it out with each other (their deep friendship is another of my favorite parts) or we got inside each of their heads as well.
And of course the steampunk and science behind fabricated animals. It really was amazing how Westerfeld was able to draw on true-life scientific ideas and re-imagine them for the purpose of the series, Telsa especially was fascinating, I had no idea how much of his electricity experiments were real! I mentioned in my review of the first book that I’m not personally particularly into steampunk, so while I was continuously impressed by the imagination in this world of twisted DNA strands and steam powered robots it’s just not something I geek out over, but it added a LOT to the story obviously.
Ok the only part I really geeked out over was the perspicacious lorises. I could quote Bovril all day, what clever, hilarious little beasties!
With my limited knowledge of steampunk fantasy it seemed like Westerfeld took no shortcuts, the setting, the science, the technology were fully created and detailed, and sometimes illustrated (oh the Keith Thompson drawings were to die for).
Even though Goliath ended with one revelation left somewhat unresolved my imagination absolutely took over after the last page and I’m more than satisfied with my own little fan-fic reel playing in my head. (I also read the bonus chapter on Westerfeld’s blog)
Oh and the last quote? UTTER PERFECTION.
“Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria, nube.” Let others wage war. You, lucky Austria, shall marry.
Genius series. Absolutely genius. I got all 3 from the library but am ABSOLUTELY going to invest in buying the trilogy in hard cover so I can lend them to my friends, my future children, my future children’s friends, and re-read them myself all. the. time.
So obviously this post isn’t so much of a formal review, I’m just one of millions of fans and would love to hear if you are too! And if you haven’t read them? Well, barking spiders, why not? Don’t be a Dummkopf, sorry to be a sticky-beak but you need to read them immediately!
A- overall to Goliath and the whole Leviathan series.