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Behemoth (Leviathan)

Behemoth  - Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson Leviathan was just the start of Deryn and Alek's adventure. Now that they've arrived in Constantinople/Istanbul to complete Dr. Barlow's mission of gifting the eggs to the Ottoman Emperor, it's Alek's chance to run away with his men. But the escape plan goes wrong. Alone in the streets on Istanbul, Alek is dragged into the politics of the place and ends up joining a band of rebels looking to overthrow the sultan! Meanwhile, Deryn has been sent on a special mission, that if fulfilled will bring everyone closer to meeting the behemoth. But her plans also go awry! The Leviathan has left and now she's stranded, and there's really no other option than to join Alekā€¦or so she keeps telling herself. With Behemoth Scott Westerfeld returns stronger than ever with adventure, action, and steampunk like you've never seen before! In this second book of the Leviathan trilogy we get deeper into the politics and alliances of the war. Westerfeld does a great job of incorporating real events and twitching others to suit this lighter fantasy version of what we know as WWI. Of course, what makes it so fun is that the story revolves around Alek and Deryn. Deryn slowly realizes her feelings towards Alek run a wee bit stronger than she imagined. There's a certain tension to their scenes now that wasn't there before, especially with the loris laughing every time it says "Mr. Sharp." I never knew when Alek would finally get it. The beautiful Lilit also adds complications to the whole thing, and jealousy is certainly a new emotion for Deryn. Alek is very fond of his best friend, confides in Deryn, and counts on her for everything, but he still doesn't know her secret. In this book he's trying his hardest to bring about peace; he sees the rebellion as an opportunity to reach that ultimate goal. He also gets to see the real consequences of war, death and destruction. I loved the meltingpot that was Istanbul, with both Clanker and Darwinist influences. The walkers were pretty amazing, being machines but keeping the forms in organic and animal shapes. Thompson does an amazing job of illustrating them all! I would just stop reading to examine each and every one of his drawings. Be prepared to read about Tesla cannon's, spottiswoode rebreather armor, perpicacious loris, ironclads, vitriolic barnacles and many other marvels in this steampunk world Westerfeld has imagined. Onwards to read Goliath!