Book Review: Behemoth By Scott Westerfeld
The story of the lost heir and the daring midshipman continues in Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld’s second book in his epic Leviathan trilogy.
When I first got my hands on Leviathan, I immediately searched the web for the 2nd and 3rd book. I almost HAD to opt for a very pricey Amazon delivery but luckily a local bookstore gave me hope. This was the same bookstore that helped me find The Time Traveler’s Wife. Their prices were higher than the leading bookstore in the country but they appear to have a better selection and a better customer service. So props to them.
I’ll write this quick since it’s a bit late here.
As a sequel, the book fared pretty well. If anything, it matched its predecessor point for point. It started a bit slow but quickly picked up the pace as it did with the first book. The pacing wasn’t too fast but wasn’t necessarily lagging either. It simply demanded a bit more out of your imagination compared to the previous book and it had me rereading a lot of the descriptors used. One very good reason was due to its setting which happens in Constantinople or popularly known today as Istanbul. Istanbul then was a mix of cultures, with a lot of colors and patterns that would drive an ordinary author mad if he hadn’t the proper skills of descriptive handwriting, not to mention hours of research about the different cultures that governed the land back in the time of World War I. Scott treated this difficult tread like a little cakewalk, seeing that he literally made up a lot of stuff in history so vividly describing something so complex couldn’t have been a weakness to him.
I liked the fact that Scott introduced a whole roster new characters mainly protagonists. Scott couldn’t have gotten away with this book had he merely stuck with his first roster of characters so this is a big plus to his clairvoyance and his perspicaciousness. One of the key points of the book was how each new character was developed individually and not as a mere part of a group. Similarly, introducing new terms and some background on the how’s and why’s of the issues in Istanbul were very well written and can be easily remembered unlike the way historians would’ve thought them to you in high school.
One of the book’s greatest aspects is the reality of death. Yes, this is war and death is everywhere. Given that this book was written for young adults, Scott shows that you’re never too innocent to know the value of life and self-sacrifice. I specially brooded over the loss of a few friends. You can feel the remorse even of the deaths of minor characters. I particularly looked forward to seeing this new character alive and well after his sacrificial attack to save the day but apparently war is as real as it gets.
Storywise, this book is a keeper and will want you to instantly have the next book in your hands. I won’t be finishing the last of the trilogy immediately, however, since I don’t like the story to end already. I’ve searched for this series too long for me to end it this short. I’ll read Dan Brown’s Inferno first then proceed with Goliath.
Overall: 9/10. I felt the book was too short but this is simply due to my particular interest in the story. I really wished they spent more time in Istanbul or perhaps Scott wrote more about the events in Istanbul more specially about what happens after the climax.
P.S. I got the paperback copy of the book. It’s not as awesome as the original cover above but it’s the story that counts and I’m happy about it.