‘Leviathan’ combines WWI and steampunk culture

Emily Merlin, Social Media Director

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Now we all know about the story of World War I. But what happens when the story of WWI integrates with steampunk culture? For those who don’t know what steampunk is, it’s 19th-century regalia combined with steam-powered technology. That can be hard to imagine within a novel. Luckily, “Leviathan” by Scott Westerfeld incorporates pictures to help you imagine how it would look.

Not many authors integrate pictures into their books; they usually just put a picture on the cover. Scott Westerfeld has the genius idea to have Keith Thompson, an illustrator, work on the artistic aspect of the series.

The “Leviathan” series follows Aleksander Von Hohenberg, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Aleksander is taken from his home when news of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, reaches his castle. At the same time that this news reaches the throne, Deryn Sharp works to become an airwoman for the British Air Service. The thing is, women are not allowed to serve in the military, so Deryn starts her transformation to Dylan Sharp.

Deryn has loved to fly ever since she was a little girl, when her father used to take her with him into his hot air balloon. Deryn is cunning, quick, and strong. She’s everything you could ask for in a heroine. She is the kind of person that you would want on your side during a war because if she wanted to she could change the world. Unfortunately, Alek and Deryn are on opposite sides of the spectrum during this war.

The Darwinist Allies take Darwin’s theory of evolution to a whole new level. Deryn arrives on board the Leviathan, a giant flying whale that has its own ecosystem, where she helps the British Military service. The other side, the Axis, are Clankers that make machines and animal look-a-likes solely with metal.

Through the twists and turns of their lives, Deryn and Alek come together and realize that they would be wonderful allies despite their country’s disputes. Somehow, amidst the dangers of war, Alek and Deryn continue to stick together and try to make the world a better place.

“Leviathan” is the first book in a three-part series. The adventures of Alek and Deryn continue all across the world, from England to Switzerland and Germany. “Leviathan” is only the beginning of a whole new world.