Book Review: Goliath

Goliath (Leviathan #3)
By: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrations by Keith Thompson
Release Date: September 2011
543 pages
Buy it on Amazon or IndieBound
Audience: YA
Source: I own it

My thoughts:
This is book 3 of the Leviathan series- and the pace for great writing doesn't let up. This volume's title refers to a great instrument of warfare. Our young heroes, Deryn and Alek, find themselves cruising over Siberia- and the journey continues east throughout the book.  They have to find their way out of progressively tighter jams, and in doing so, strengthen their relationship. 

I confess that my appreciation of this book was very much influenced by having attended a book signing, which gave me the opportunity to hear Mr. Westerfeld speak about the process that he and Mr. Thompson used to create this tale. It was amazing to hear how the two worked in tandem to develop and explore their fictional universe. Having to think about how the story would translate to the visual medium shaped parts of the storyline that otherwise might have been written a little differently. At the same time, having drawings to reference offered Mr. Westerfeld options for scene settings that he may not have ever imagined on his own.

I'd like to take a moment to sing praises for Mr. Westerfeld's sheer writing genius. The level of craftsmanship in his plot development and characterization is noteworthy- but the fact that he does these things well while holding the attention of a YA audience, which sometimes prefers action at the sacrifice of depth and intricacy, is extraordinary. I also very much enjoy the verbal banter between characters. The word choice, especially the slang, was such an enjoyable part of the characterization.Even if physical descriptions had been absent, the reader would be able to identify characters based on the almost tangible voice each was given.

Readers will be glad to know that the series comes to a satisfying conclusion, while leaving the door open for possible further adventures, should the author choose to revisit these characters later. Mr. Westerfeld has said that he has a further project in the works: the manual of aeronautics that Deryn carries. It sounds like it will be a companion book somewhat comparable to Bogus to Bubbly, the companion to the Uglies series.

Summary from GoodReads:

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.


  1. "Sheer writing genius" -- I couldn't agree more; a perfect description. Yes, I loved the banter too. So creative. Probably my favorite reads of the year. Excellent review!

  2. Yeah! So glad you loved it, Paula. I can't wait to read it. I am a big fan of this series too. :)


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