"Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld is the best Steampunk novel ever. The fact that it’s also Young Adult is an added bonus. In this story, there is an alternate historical moment that started World War 1. One side will fight the war with metal machines. The other side creates animals for an advantage.
The heroine, Deryn Sharp, has the knowledge and gumption to be the best airman in the British military but due to being born a female, she’s not allowed to pursue her desired profession. The hero, Aleksandar Ferdinand, was born into wealth and privilege. After a great tragedy, he finds himself without his status and on the run for his life. Both characters have to hide their true identities and this creates an amazing story.
Besides wonderful characters, the worldbuilding is the best. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of steampunk technologies and must admit that it took me a few chapters to get absorbed into the story but once in, I wanted to know every single thing about the fabricated creatures and I’m invested in their fates as much as I am in Deryn and Alek’s storylines.
My friends have been telling me about this series for years. My only regret is that it took me so long to crack open this brilliant novel.
The first novel in a masterful trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld that School Library Journal hailed is "sure to become a classic."
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.