Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
I’ve been looking for a cheap version of this book for, perhaps, six years now. It was only by rough chance, and a good deal of sorting through a bunch of old piled books, that I found this lying underneath the rubble. It was in very mint condition given that it still has the plastic cover protecting the whole book itself from aging. It’s original price was at 719.00 php but I got it as 200 instead. Sweet deal, right? I’ve been looking for the rest of the series but luck has yet to smile on my search.
Let me give you a quick review since I’m a bit pressed for time. This book is meant for young adults but I’m 24 and I still enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I was willing to purchase all the series on day 3 of this book. Perhaps Scott knows how to fish because his book got me hook, line, and sinker.
What gave me the interest to read this book was, first and foremost, its cover. Now let us not judge books by their respective covers but you gotta admire the artwork and detail given to it. Of course it will definitely spike an interest if you see something as awesome as this. Next was the title. Imagine a big book like this with an enticing cover then finished off with quite a formidable name. How could I not want to pick it up?
I then scanned through and I fell in love with the plot. It was about an alternate time in history and I love books like this. It reminds me of steampunk books only this has animals with it. It’s pretty neat and I’m pretty sure I’m blabbering like a little boy on Christmas morning but I’m telling you the truth: the plot and the whole “robotic” and “bio-engineered” past is pretty awesome and very original as far as I can remember. It also helped a lot that the reviews, well most of them, really liked the series.
I love the way Scott wrote the book, showing the perspective of the two main protagonists specially as to how they see the same situations. It reminds me a lot of other books such as those from ASOIAF. Scott can develop his characters even the very minor ones. Scott also ensured that his descriptions are concrete enough since the weapons and machines involved (as well as the fabricated animals) are very non-existent or perhaps are still in development. It was also a good call imploring the aid of a brilliant artist such as Keith Thompson to provide visuals in the form of sketches. I’m beginning to like books with pictures, I guess, and I don’t care if people think I’m a kid for enjoying that sort of luxury.
You also realize that, though this book is for children ages 12 – 16 (?), the book seems to put the ethical issues that come up with warring. This is specifically on how wars end the lives of not just the soldiers who fight but those of the families and friends they left behind. It’s like suddenly this fun and adventurous book makes you feel that killing for peace is questionable. I definitely felt it tugging on my guilt ropes since I happen to enjoy destroying my enemy one city at a time whenever I play Civilization.
But this is a very good thing since we have to make aware that wars only kill people for the glory of one or two world leaders. Imagine millions of lives wasted, lands ruined, unethical and immoral means considered as a choice just to prove someone wrong or to justify someone’s selfishness. This book definitely makes a young kid think much about the gravity of wars and its toll on the innocent. Scott has delivered this very good political message loud and clear and I applaud him for that.
I have to be honest: I’m in a rush to get all the books in the series and I’m willing to pay a good sum for them even if I have to go through Amazon and wait months for it because the local bookstore sucks at keeping stock.