Review: Behemoth (Leviathan #2) by Scott Westerfeld

Published by SimonPulse
Released October 5, 2010
485 pages
Where I got it: Public Library
Rating: 4 stars

When we left off at the end of Leviathan, the potential future Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Alek, and his group had joined up with the team of the British airship, the Leviathan, including a plucky girl-disguised-as-boy, Deryn (or Mr. Dylan Sharp to everyone, including you!)  The partnership is an uneasy one, as very few on the Leviathan know anything about the Austrian group.  They only know that they are enemies of the Germans.  The Leviathan makes a diplomatic visit to Istanbul (not Constantinople), where things go very wrong.  Alek and some of his crew make an escape into the city, but are soon pursued by the Germans who have taken over the city.  Deryn is sent on a very dangerous secret mission where she loses her team.  The two adolescents must find and help each other if they are to save themselves, the crew of the Leviathan, and perhaps end the war.

I enjoyed Behemoth better than Leviathan, mainly because we already have been introduced to the characters and are able to really get into the meat of the action and plot.  In this book, we could sense the tension forming between Alek and Deryn, which was pretty obviously set up from the start. We’re also introduced to an incredibly cute prefabricated beast, Bovril, who knows much more than Alek and Deryn give him credit for.  Deryn’s guilt has greatly increased about not telling Alek that she’s really a girl, but she also feels that it’s her duty to not tell him, since he’d have to fall in love with a girl as awesome as her, and since she’s a British commoner that would not do.

Like Leviathan, Behemoth is illustrated by Keith Thompson, and the illustrations are great.  He does a nice job of capturing Westerfield’s description.  I myself didn’t always know how to picture the prefabricated beasts or clanker machines, so Thompson’s drawings definitely enhanced my reading experience.  Once again, the endpapers are really incredible and capture the character of WWI propaganda.  I’m really curious to see what Thompson does for book 3′s endpapers to top the first two.

The trilogy’s final installment, Goliath, is set to be released on September 11 of this year.

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