Friday, January 20, 2012

The Leviathan Trilogy By Scott Westerfeld, Illustrated By Keith Thompson

I recently read over the course of last year (here and there), and just recently finished, the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson. So, this is a combo "I Sing The Praises Of" and "The Art Of" entry.

Leviathan, and its sequels Behemoth and Goliath, are set in an alternate timeline, just when their version of World War One is about to kick off.

The struggle of civilizations wheels around the two major philosophies encountered between nations.

"Clankers" are those nations who adhere to diesel and electric power (and metallurgy, machining, and other associated industrial disciplines) as a basis for their civilization. Austria-Hungary and Germany are the notable examples of this.

"Darwinists" are those nations that have adapted biological creations to perform the functions of machines, vehicles, and weaponry. There are some pretty intriguing concepts found throughout the three books.

And of course, there are other nations that use a blend of the two philosophies.

To be fair, the books are marketed and targeted towards the Young Adult demographic, much like the Harry Potter series. There aren't a lot of adult themes, but the characters and their involvement in world events do keep you reading.

The books are interspersed with amazing illustrations by Keith Thompson, who really brings the Steampunk/Dieselpunk creations of the Clankers to life. The Darwinist creations are enjoyable as well, but being a mecha-head, the "stormwalkers" are really what captivated me. There's a bit of mecha action throughout the books, so that appealed to me as well.

All in all, a nice series of books. Highly recommended.


P.S. For those of you who have read the books, I found a Westerfeld-authored epilogue, of sorts, on his blog, complete with one last Thompson piece of art. Don't read it, though, if you don't want some major plot lines spoiled.

P.P.S. The word that describes the feeling of a 6'4", 36-year-old man going into the Young Adult/Teen section of the library (repeatedly) and asking the librarian if the newest copy of "Goliath" is in: Awkward.
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