Saturday, March 31

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan is headed for Constantinople. Alek and his men are set on making their escape in neutral territory...but when they arrive, they discover it might not be so neutral after all.

Deryn is torn between her duty to the Leviathan and her growing feelings for Alek. Can she bring herself to tell Alek she's a girl, despite knowing the consequences?

To top it all off, Dr. Barlow's secret eggs are hatching... What are they for and how can they help Deryn and Alek?

Less than a month after I finished 'Leviathan' I've moved onto the sequel and am already hungry for the final installment in the trilogy. Where the main excitement for me in the first book was Alek's secret, I found that Deryn's gender concealment was far more exhilarating in Behemoth. She does not have any cliché struggles with hiding her physical appearance as I see so much in other novels but instead grapples with her emotional dilemma, regarding her stance with Alek.

Behemoth is no more a romance novel than Leviathan was, however. While I do enjoy some inner conflict in the form of romantic tension, I like the fact that it is more of the importance of duty and alliances. Deryn is drawn to Alek and intent on helping him but she is also patriotic and wants to do right by her country and her fellow crewmen on the Leviathan.

Alek is becoming more of a leader in this book. He is making his own decisions - even when it means going against the direct wishes of his men - and using his wits and gut to guide him. There were plenty of new characters he meets in Constantinople (Istanbul) and I found myself drawn to two in particular - Malone, the reporter and Lilit, a revolutionary girl, whose character I liked a lot more than I thought I would.

Once again, I listened to the audio book narrated by Alan Cumming. It was magnificent as ever. There were only a couple of lines around chapter fourteen where I noticed that the accents of the dialogue didn't match up with who was speaking. Otherwise it was impeccable.

To hit home just what a nutter I am for not reading the book, I snuck a look at Keith Thompson's illustrations for the novel. His artwork not only reflects Deryn's passion of drawing through in its detailed sketch form but it also reels you right into the atmosphere of the story

There is another afterword from the author at the end of 'Behemoth' which gives an insight into what is accurate to our history and what is - to use a Darwinist word - fabricated. Alternate history is a new genre to me and I'm always fascinated to know exactly what the author has built upon to form the story. I didn't have a clear image of what the reporter, Malone, looked like and I loved seeing him on the page. His illustration of Bovril was spot-on. Quite cute and cat-like...or perhaps, meerkat-like?

Keen for 'Goliath' which I will of course be listening to on audio book.

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Simon Pulse and is used solely as an aide to the review.

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