Behemoth is the second book in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, so If you have yet to read Leviathan or my review of the first book, do that first! There will be spoilers in this review for the series as a whole up to the end of Behemoth 🙂
Synopsis taken from Goodreads
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.
My rating: 5 stars
This second installment was action-packed and exciting! It took me maybe a week to finish this book and I was very pleased with that because it took me about a ear to finish Leviathan. I put that down to the fact that the first book needed to include so much world building and now this second book just jumped right back where we left off and I was looking forward to reading on.
After Leviathan, Alek and his men have attempted to escape from the airship, but Count Volger and Hoffman stayed behind to let Alek get away after the group was caught. Alek has been separated from the man who he trusted to help him escape and have a plan for what to do next and now he’s left with Klopp and Bauer. Alek decides they should stay in Istanbul even though Volger told them to get as far away from there as possible and stay hidden. Alek has this gut feeling that he can do something to stop the whole war since he has his letter from the Pope declaring him as the rightful heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne.
Deryn has an interesting narrative in this second book as well. She’s become Dr. Barlow’s right hand man essentially and she has to do whatever the “lady boffin” tells her to. Usually this means doing diplomatic work, but she’s also given a secret mission to carry out in service of the British war effort. Deryn (aka Dylan) Sharp is so confusing to me as a character. In theory shes a fifteen year old girl going through puberty so you’d think it would be harder for her to hide the fact that shes female than simply hiding her growing chest. Doesn’t this girl get a period? Or is she at least worried about getting her period sometime soon? I think that would be very difficult to hide. If there were any book to actually acknowledge the occurrence of a period, it would be this one. Volger seems to be the only one who has figured out her secret, I have my suspicions that Dr. Barlow knows but she hasn’t said anything to prove that theory yet.
The action really kept me going in this second book. Deryn’s mission was so suspenseful, especially since she was the only one who managed to stay hidden from the Germans. I felt bad that her men were all either captured or killed, but the main thing is that she is alive of course. I love the innovations of Dr. Barlow’s new beasties and that she’s related to Charles Darwin himself. I really enjoy this world with it’s combinations of real events and steam punk twists.
The dynamic between Alek and Deryn really bugs me though (and don’t get me started on the Deryn/Lilit weirdness. The romantic elements of this series seem really forced to me. Yes, it was funny that Lilit has a crush on Deryn because she thinks he’s a heroic boy, but I feel like the story could just do without romance. These are young characters, and I think that even though it’s a YA series, it doesn’t NEED to have romance *gasp*! I’m interested to see what happens when Alek eventually finds out that Deryn is actually a girl, but I do ot look forward to more forced romantic encounters between the two of them. Deryn’s crush just seems unnatural to me. I get that she’s a girl going through hormonal changes and has a crush on a boy for the first time but I dislike her internal dialogue about how she’s feeling about Alek because it’s always vague and feels as though she thinks she’s supposed to feel this way just because he’s a boy that she has grown close to. Maybe you felt differently but those are my thoughts.
What are your thought on this series? (please avoid spolers for Goliath if possible since I’ll be reading that one within the next few weeks!) Have a lovely day 🙂