Monday, August 29, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.
The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy. 
I am convinced that anything Scott Westerfeld writes is brilliant. Goliath is no exception.

(Warning: This review might contain spoilers for the first two books in the trilogy - Leviathan and Behemoth.)

Goliath picks up where Behemoth leaves off; Alek and Deryn are back on the Leviathan after playing major roles in the Ottoman Empire revolution.

Alek feels a bit useless onboard the ship since he was a key player in the rebellion, but now just a little better than a prisoner. Deryn is off doing things middies do. The story picks up when the Leviathan makes a detour and witnesses a scary sight in the middle of nowhere Siberia. Secrets abound and the two stars are caught up in the middle of it all.

In this third and final installment of the story, Alek finally learns Deryn’s secret. I really appreciated that Scott decided to reveal this closer to the beginning of the book as opposed to the very end, and I’m very happy with the way it was done.

The introduction of Tesla adds another layer of intrigue to the books. Who is this man and what is the Goliath? While the book is action-packed it’s also perfectly paced. There’s enough mystery to keep the pages turning and Scott Westerfeld interweaves pieces of history into his fantastic prose.

I especially love this trilogy because it makes me enjoy history in a way I’ve never truly enjoyed it before. Sometimes the depiction of the stories are so boring that I often forget that history is real life and real life can be exciting - especially if told by a master. War, even though it’s a horrible thing, is also exciting to read about. What happened? How did it get started? How did it get resolved? What can we learn from the past to make a better future?

Even though it is fiction, reading this trilogy has caused me to read more about what happened during World War I and, on a whole, has sparked an interest in history that I haven’t experienced before. The only downside is that perspicacious lorises aren’t real. I mean, who wouldn’t want one after reading about Bovril? Also, this.

History buffs, steampunk lovers and anyone who loves a good story will most definitely enjoy the Leviathan Trilogy. My only hope is that Scott does what he did with the Uglies trilogy and adds a fourth book. Or hey, a second trilogy? One can only hope.


  1. I've had Leviathan on my shelf for awhile, so I'm glad I have something to look forward to with this series :) I was pretty skeptical at first, but great review! Thanks!

  2. It's a good read.... Historical novels are a bit difficult to chew sometimes, but Scott makes it fun, and the steampunk aspect of it is super cool =D