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Leviathan A Novel Written By Scott Westerfield

1986 words - 8 pages

Leviathan, a title taken from the sea monster of Biblical origin and proportion, is truly suiting for this work of fiction inhabited by both vast genetically engineered beasts and mechanical behemoths. This novel tells the intertwined stories of Deryn Sharp, a young girl disguising herself as a boy in the British Air Service, and Prince Aleksandar of Hohenberg, a young man on the run from his own nation of Austria-Hungary. Taking place in a rich setting full of fanciful scientific ideas, nestled deep into the history of World War I, and acted out by a vibrant and memorable cast of characters; Leviathan is a novel unlike any other in the young adult genre.
The author of Leviathan, Scott Westerfield, was put on the map by his series of novels for young adults entitled Uglies. Alongside Uglies Westerfield has published 18 other novels, including Leviathan and the novels that follow it. He was born in Dallas, Texas in 1963, and studied at both Vassar College and New York University (Westerfield). Westerfield is known best for his intelligent storytelling and carefully crafted settings, especially in Leviathan and Uglies. He has a very obvious passions for science fiction, along with addressing issues that many young people face every day in his creative works. His protagonists are known to be deep and well crafted, but still relatable with unique sets of flaws. This pattern of characterization is no less prevalent in Leviathan.
Deryn Sharp is, by all means, described well by her name. She is sharp tongued and quick witted, and obviously very sly to keep her true gender concealed from her comrades in the Air Service. She is a fast-paced character, with a brusque attitude that surged her away from life as a “proper lady” and conceals the soul of a hero. If anything, she represents Westerfield’s repeated troupe of a strong female protagonist. Where Deryn is audacious and rough around the edges, Aleksandar becomes her elegant if not somewhat idealistic foil. Being a prince, Alek is sophisticated and well educated. Compared to Deryn, his sheltered life of royalty may have even left him idealistic enough to be considered naive. Nevertheless, Alek manages to break the stereotypical mold of an estranged prince by being a thoughtful and beyond helpful asset to Deryn and her allies. While New York Times writer Austin Grossman claims that “...there’s something a little mechanical (or bioengineered?) about this pair…” that is obviously an improper judgement upon the two. Deryn and Alek are incredibly human, with flaws, fears, and even secrets kept from each other no matter how close they become. What sets them truly apart from most young adult genre protagonists is not the fact that they have these qualities, but how they deal with them. They do not allow themselves to angst and moan, but instead take their personal problems in stride. Not to say they don’t become anxious in the face of issues that are very common and human to have, but this young duo doesn’t...

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