Book Review: Behemoth

Illustrated by: Keith Thompson
Published By:  Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 2010
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Library

Scott Westerfeld has done it again. The second installment in the Leviathan series delivers just as much excitement and thrills as the first. I have fallen in love with Alek and Deryn so I was so happy to spend some more time with them. The Leviathan series is a revisionist history book that puts a new and intriguing spin on the real events of World War One. Behemoth takes our young heroes into the Ottoman Empire as the country teeters on the edge of joining the war. Westerfeld masterfully weaves together fact and fiction to create a magical world that keeps the reader frantically turning the pages. I didn't want this one to end, but of course it did. Westerfeld didn't cut me any slack either; he left me with tons of questions. Now I am anxiously awaiting the release of Goliath, which will hit shelves in October.
Again, I loved following the exploits of Alek and Deryn as they make their mark on history. In Behemoth, Alek finally leaves the Leviathan in a daring escape before the British airmen can learn his true identity. He must learn to survive in the streets of Istanbul and navigate the political unrest that is gripping the city. Along the way, he makes some new friends and faces new challenges as the Germans are only one step behind him.

Deryn also leaves the Leviathan, but not of her own choosing. A top secret mission will force her to find Alek and help him brave Istanbul. However, a deadly secret weapon will put the fate of her ship and fellow airmen in jeopardy. Will Deryn be able to save them?
I really struggled with the best way to write this review. I wanted to convey how much I enjoy reading this series, but I didn't want to give away any spoilers for people who have not read this book or the series. There are so many crucial elements that could ruin the read for others.

I will say that Scott Westerfeld's writing style is one of my favorites. He is a wonderful story teller and he breathes life into his characters. I will say that I did prefer Deryn's story in this book over Alek's. Perhaps that will change with the third book. I also just love the whole idea of revisionist history and think Westerfeld's take on it is so fresh and original. Many of my lingering questions from the first book were cleared up, but now I have new questions pulsing through my mind. I am so nervous that the books will go in a direction different from the one that I am hoping for, but I suppose in the end Westerfeld knows best.

I also found this installment interesting because I got to learn more about how the Clankers worked. Leviathan heavily focuses on explaining and exploring the technology of the Darwinists. The backdrop of Istanbul was intriguing for me. I don't know much about this part of the world so it made me want to learn more.

Also, the illustrations make this book worth reading on their own. Paired with Westerfeld's writing style and the endearing characters it is one that is sure to hold a special place in my heart for quite some time.

One Last Gripe: I am so anxious waiting for Deryn to finally reveal her big secret to Alek - the wait and worry about his reaction is maddening

My Favorite Thing About The Book: Getting to spend more time with Deryn and Alek

First Sentence: Alek raised his sword.

Favorite Character: Deryn/Dylan Sharp

Least Favorite Character: Malone, the reporter

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 Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.


  1. This sounds interesting. I read and enjoyed The Uglies by this author. I do remember liked his writing style so I'm going to have to check this series out. Great Review!

  2. This is one of those series that keeps popping up all over the place. I first took notice of it over the summer but haven't read them yet. However, everywhere I go I hear people talking about these books. And I want to read them I do, I just haven't made them a priority yet.
    But this is it! I give in! I will absolutely make time for the first one in Feb. I promise:)

  3. I hope you both will read the series. I would love having someone to discuss these books with that enjoys them as much as I do. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! :)

  4. I've had my eye on this series too, because I love Westerfeld's Uglies series- but I liked his Midnighters series even more. :) I have quite a list of to-reads, though, so I might just wait until book 3 is out so I don't have any wait time.

  5. @Paula - I actually like the Leviathan series better than the Uglies series. I haven't tried the Midnighters. I almost wish I had waited for all 3 books to come out - I am not the most patient person in the world. I want Goliath NOW!

  6. Great review Andrea. I'm a friend of Tev and Michelle's AND I live in Istanbul :) So if you have any questions about this crazy city I'd be happy to answer. I havent read the Leviathan series but after seeing this review I sure will.


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