Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Behemoth is the second instalment in Westerfield’s Leviathan series, which was initially scheduled to be a trilogy concluding when Goliath is released in Oct 2011 but, according to a recent interview he gave, the series will now be a tetralogy concluding with an un-named as yet, fourth and final book. I was really looking forward to reading and reviewing this book having been sent this and it’s predecessor, Leviathan, which left me eagerly anticipating this instalment. The book features over 50 delightful illustrations provided by Keith Thompson and the audio book version is narrated by actor Alan Cumming.
Behemoth picks up where Leviathan left off with the main characters, Alek and Deryn arriving in the neutral territory of Constantinople on board the living airship Leviathan. Deryn has some tasks to attend to as assistant to Dr Nora Barlow, the first of these is to meet with the ruler in power, Sultan Mehmed V and deliver the mysterious egg cargo that they’ve carefully nutured on the voyage. All does not go well as their ceremonial procession is ambushed by some insurgents and aborted. Alek meanwhile alights the ship with his guardians, Otto Klopp and Wildcount Volger but becomes separated from them and he does not dare risk trying to get back on board the Leviathan as it seems the Ottoman empire is not as neutral as they would like when he finds evidence that the German Clankers have arrived ahead of them. Alek meets and allies himself with Zaven, one of the leaders of the local uprising, while Deryn attempts some increasingly daring, dangerous and top secret missions for
DrBarlow and the ship’s Captain, whilst trying to find Alek in the hopes she can sneak him back on board before he gets captured.
Behemoth was a really fast read, the chapters alternate in pairs between Deryn and Alek’s points of view but it doesn’t lose the reader along the way. It’s a speedily paced book with a twisting, turning plot set against the back drop of the early days of WW1 and the bartering and espionage that took place between nations. Westerfield’s mechanical creations are described in great detail and his descriptions of the living bio creations are superb. This book, like it’s predecessor, is dotted with stunning illustrations which make Behemoth a literary and visual delight. Westerfield takes good care in developing his characters and their surroundings, really placing the reader at the centre of the action. Although this book has a slightly more darker and sinister feel than Leviathan, there are several moments of levity and mirth to provide a nice overall balance and that prevents the story from becoming bleak.
The most enjoyable parts of this book for me was the character development, Westerfield gives them room to grow, and even though he introduced several new supporting characters he makes sure to give plenty of page space to the main characters so that you never lose sight of who the story is focused on, or what their goals are. Westerfield has a real knack with expressions, his characters declaring ‘try this for dinner, bum-rags!’ ‘barking stupid machines!’ ‘beasties!’ had me laughing regularly. I tip my hat to Mr Westerfield who manages to slip the word ‘perspicacious’ into the book in several places without it seeming out of place amongst the main dialogue, very slick!
And the bit I really wasn’t fond of? That would be leaving the appearance of the mighty Behemoth ship until so late in the book! With the book titled after this monstrous war ship, I really would have expected it to appear much earlier. By the time it appears and wades into battle, the fight is almost over before it started, and that I felt was a little bit anti climatic. The Behemoth was described in awesome detail and it seemed such a shame for it to feature so little and so late.
This book has a sound appeal to all genders and ages, Westerfield is very engaging writer, his characters are easy to warm to and I really couldn’t wait to see what would happen to them next. The plot moves along at a good pace and is complicated enough for older readers to enjoy, whilst being explained clearly enough for younger readers to follow. You could read this book without having read Leviathan, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that as you’ll be missing out on a great read that introduces you to the main characters and their various secrets and motivations.
It’s a great low-level introduction to some war time history points and also to some important people from history, all set in an engaging adventure plot with incredible creatures and machines that prevent it becoming a lecture.
I rate this book as 9/10 and look forward to reading Goliath when it’s released later this year.
This Behemoth book review was written by Jules Grant
All reviews for: Leviathan series
Leviathan series: Book 1
The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that...
Leviathan series: Book 2
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Cl...
Have you read Behemoth?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Behemoth reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Mortal Engines Quartet
Long before the days of Mortal Engines, London is poised on the brink of apocalypse. Huge armoured fortresses are advancing across the wastelands - a new and terrifying kin...
The Hod King
Thomas Senlin and his crew of outcasts have been separated, and now they must face the dangers of the labyrinthine tower on their own in this third book in the word...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
Kevin J Anderson
The young Verne and his best friend Andre Nemo stow away on a ship bound for the high seas, but Jules' father catches Jules and forces him to come home in total disgrac...
In Dark Service
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions...
Art and his family are invited on a fantastic free holiday to the exotic Asteroid Belt, in a remote part of space near Mars. Taking the train, they arrive to discover that ...
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s Englan...
Grandville Mon Amour
The beefy badger DI Archie LeBrock is languishing in self-pity, driven to drink (as every good copper should be) by the guilt of Sarah’s murder. When his partner, Rod...
The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide
Bringing together an action-filled story full of automatons, airships and a dastardly plot to take over the world and instructions on how to make your own gadgets, The Stea...
Great fantasy books published in 2010
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Five hundred years into the third age of flight and mighty phraxships steam across the immensity of the Deepwoods, plying their lucrative trade between the three great citi...
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the...
Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defe...
My name is John Cleaver. I live in Clayton County, in a mortuary on the edge of town. I have a mother and a sister and an aunt. I’m sixteen years old. I like reading,...
An indispensable guidebook to the Soul Society, Color Bleach+: The Bleach Official Bootlegtakes you behind the scenes in the shadowy world of the Soul Reapers. All Thirteen...
The Way of Kings
Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of ...
Once Walked With Gods
The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of...
Towers of Midnight
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One's prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unravelling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to spill out o...
The Broken Kingdoms
In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homele...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: