Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Goliath

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)

Alek watching The Perils of Pauling moving picture at Hearst's dinner

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.

Advertisements

Going Overboard

Guys.

I think I went a little bit overboard at the library this week #understatmentoftheyear

Now I understand what people mean when they say they’re afraid their reading pile is going to crush them!

It’s not like they were going to disappear if I didn’t check them out of the library RIGHTAWAY but I just couldn’t stop myself. I don’t know where to begin! I was reading Lori Foster’s Back in Black but I had only picked that up on a whim whereas the other 13 books I just got were all books that have been on my wish list or I’ve been in line for through the library holds list for a while. Since they are all highly anticipated for me I just want to read them all at once.

I decided on To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis and am really enjoying it but…

My eyes keep straying to this stack of books. It’s distracting! (and this picture reminds me I MUST take down my Christmas decorations and tree this weekend, sigh) I got several of these a few days ago which are detailed in this week’s library loot post and I’ll include the rest next week. So I have 30 days to read these 14 books. At least it’s a 3 day weekend with the MLK Jr holiday. My only other plans are dinner with friends and seeing Beauty and the Beast rereleased in theatres (im very excited). I need to put a dent in reading these so wish me luck!

December 2011 Reading List

To make up for not reading ANY BOOKS AT ALL (zip, zero, zilch) while I was travelling around so many campuses this past Fall *sob* I really made up for my lack of lusty reading by devouring *20 books* during the month of December! *smug face* I haven’t done a monthly reading roundup post since June 2010 which is positively shameful but I hope to get back on track. Ch-ch-check out the 20 that I read with some brief thoughts on a few as well:

December 2011 Reading List

  1. The Queen of Attolia, Meghan Whalen Turner (#2 in The Queen’s Thief quartet): A+ I loved this whole series, but adored this one the absolute MOST of the four because it really challenged me. Oh Gen, oh silly, clever, incorrigible, sneaky, sensitive, brilliant Gen, how I adore thee.
  2. The Thief, Meghan Whalen Turner #1: A
  3. The King of Attolia, Meghan Whalen Turner #3: A
  4. A Conspiracy of Kings, Meghan Whalen Turner #4: A
  5. Elemental Assassin Series Books 1-5, Jennifer Estep: A Gin is just plain cool (and not because she is part Ice elemental, ha). As soon as I finished reading the first in the series I immediately downloaded the next 4 and read them all deep into the night back to back in several days over the holidays. There are more books in the series after the 5th but one through five sees a particular storyline to conclusion.

10. Lion in the Valley, Elizabeth Peters: A Just started reading the Amelia Peabody series for the first time last month and this 4th installment is my absolute favorite in the series so far! It is the most salacious and dramatic so of course I loved it. Ooooo that Master Criminal!

11. Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters (#1): A

12. What I did for a Duke, Julie Ann Long: B+ Very cute and got me intrigued to read more about the Eversea and Redmond families.

13. A Visit from Sir Nicholas, Victoria Alexander: B+

14. The Curse of the Pharaohs, Elizabeth Peters (#2): B

15. The Mummy Case, Elizabeth Peters (#3): B

16. Delicious, Sherry Thomas: B

17. Divergent, Veronica Roth: B- I was very into this while reading it (got a little sweaty, there are MANY tense moments!). Reminded me of Ender’s Game on a smaller scale. I liked it, didn’t love it as there were too many holes/unexplained things in the worldbuilding, but will definitely read the next book in the series when it comes out…from the library ;)

18. Lady Sophia’s Lover, Lisa Kleypas: B-

19. Angelology, Danielle Turssoni: C- The writing style for more was like a more annoying and condescending Dan Brown. I also thought it skipped between too many frame stories and flashbacks. And don’t even get me *started* on the ending, awful. That said, I read it in one sitting, it was riveting and original.

20. Under the Cowboy’s Control, Lynda Chance: D pretty painfully misogynistic and simplistic writing.

I’ve kept some of my notes in my Goodreads reading list so you can also follow me there for my more “real time” thoughts as I read throughout the month. And for those of you that are already friends with me on GR some of the above might look a little familiar as I did copy/paste some things for this post.

So have y’all read any of these???

Library Loot: diversity is the spice of life

No posts between last week’s library loot and this week’s, womp womp. But I’ll tell you exactly ONE reason why that is…I was too busy reading all the books I got last week in every moment of my spare time back-to-back to do much else!

In fact I already started reading one of this week’s new library loot when I got these yesterday because I just couldn’t wait, very few things make me as happy as a huge stack of GOOD books waiting to be read in front of me.

Now if you know anything about my reading tastes, you’ll know I read a little bit of every genre/sub genre as long as I think the book will entertain me. I also prefer happy/happier endings but a little 10% ish or more of “challenging” reads do sneak in to mix things up! So behold my diverse loot this week (only one YA this time but I have so many more on hold and on my TBR):

1. Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See – I haven’t read Shanghai Girls but I remember there was lots of buzz about it. So I picked this up with no research, other than it was on the end-cap of my library’s new releases , and I have a sinking feeling I should have read Shanghai Girls first. Oh well, I’m still looking forward to giving this much hyped author a try myself, can’t believe I haven’t read any of her much-lauded backlist yet!

2. Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld – ok so this is the book I started reading the moment I brought it home from the library. I got the 2nd in this trilogy, Behemoth, in last week’s library loot and I was completed hooked, enamoured, and obsessed with these characters, their intricate relationships, political drama, and of course the awesome fabricated creatures of this steampunk world. I was home sick yesterday and read Goliath for 6 straight hours pausing only to blow my nose or take a cough drop. It is one of the best books/series I’ve read in the past couple of years. Seriously. I loved it so much I live tweeted my favorite #Goliath quotes (without spoilers) as I read. The dedication page says it all *happy sigh*

3. Kindred, by Octavia Butler – so this is one of those 10% of books that sneak into my reading pile that challenge me. As a time travel novel that doesn’t focus on the sci-fi aspect of it, but rather as a method to explore slavery and african-american history, I doubt this will be my usual “reading for entertainment only” fare. But it was suggested by a friend at work and intrigued me.

4. Back in Black by Lori Foster – ok as a romance reader I’ve never read Lori Foster either *ducks in anticipation of rotten tomatoes* you want to know what prompted me to pick this up? I don’t usually like contemporary romances but my twitter feed has been full of people signing up for her conference so I thought I needed to see what the fuss was all about!

Library loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Library Loot: return from hiatus

I love cleaning out the YA section of my local libraries (I’ve done it many times before), I swear the DC/MD/VA area public libraries have AWESOME Young Adult fiction selections (kudos to the buyers in charge!) but rarely have any of the adult books on my wish list. So I did it once again…check out my library loot (back on board with this meme 6 months after my last Library Loot post…)

I got some of the hottest titles right now (according to all the “best of 2011” posts in my google reader) and I wasn’t even on the waitlist, just grabbed these beauties right off the shelves.

And look at the gorgeous covers, YA really has the most beautiful and creative cover-art out there these days…that I regularly see anyways..

I thin my impetus to read all of these was mainly from The Book Smuggles (of course, they say jump and I say – how high?) but I think these are all fairly popular titles many of my bookish internet friends posted about that I missed while I was too busy to read these past 6 months!

1.  Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld – I read the first in this series, Leviathan, almost a year ago (my review here) and loved it so am super excited to finally get around to reading the next. I think the 3rd is already out too?

2. Legend  by Marie Lu – Hopping on board the “YA dystopia new release” bandwagon. Have low expectations for alllll of these so-called YA dystopias but looking forward to some entertaining brain candy at the very least with Legend!

3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – All I know is that this review at The Book Smugglers made my fingers positively itch to pick up this more unusual read.

4. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa – This is one of those series where I feel like I’m the only one who HASN’T read them! Looking forward to discovering the hype for myself over this faery-world with secret princesses and Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired characters.

Library loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Happy New Year

Yes – it has been 6 months since I wrote here.

No – this is not a New Year’s Resolution post to be better about blogging. I don’t do NY resolutions anyways, the only one I ever made that I can remember was that I would blog for all of 2009, which I did with an average of 15 posts a month (so shocking looking back on that now!) for the whole  year. I don’t do well with resolutions (see post on no willpower) so I just don’t make them, that way I can’t feel guilty about breaking them. This makes a lot of sense to me.

I don’t think I’ll ever blog full time again, I barely get on twitter more than a few times a week these days, but I’ve recently been thinking of imaginary blog posts that circle in my head when I’m trying to go to sleep which means it’s time to get some of them down on (e)paper.

So, it’s been awhile, huh guys? It’s not that I wasn’t blogging because I had nothing to say, I wanted to tell you about..

  • The time I hit the Ambassador of Chad’s car. In front of the embassy. And drove away. But came back later out of guilt. And they came out while I was leaving a note and made me go inside and tell him to his face. And he was really nice and told me to let him know if I ever wanted to visit Chad
  • I hit another parked car that same week
  • Had an amazing trip white water rafting in the Grand Canyon
  • Slept in a covered wagon
  • Went to Las Vegas for the first time and LOVED it
  • I lost my driver’s license in an airport
  • Lost my credit card in NYC
  • Went to the emergency room for a surprise minor surgery on my birthday
  • I worked 70+ hour weeks all Fall

So about that last one…instead of blogging I was on various college campuses every day and every night, which meant no reading, so no good books to blog about, and no life in general to blog about since my social life was absolutely non-existent. Over the past 6 months I have been here:

And here:

And here:

And many more…

But now I’m here *points to computer screen* so hopefully I’ll see y’all around online a little bit more these days!

Happy 2012!