Book Talk: Just as Alek is starting to feel like he belongs, Austria joins the war and he becomes a prisoner of war. He can't stay on the Leviathan as a prisoner, so he escapes to freedom in Istanbul. Deryn hates to see him go, and she hates how much she hates to see him go even more. Maybe it's for the best. Now she can focus on being a soldier and stop mooning over some stupid boy. But fate brings them together again, and Deryn has to figure out how to stay loyal to her country despite her feelings and above all she has to make sure no one discovers her secret. This would all be a lot easier if it weren't for the anarchist girl Alek falls in with. In a town where so many cultures live side by side and dozens of languages are spoken, how can anyone make sense of the confusion?
Rocks my Socks: The setting is as wonderfully realized as in the previous novel, and here we get even more details as we explore the cultural melting pot of Istanbul. The love triangle that forms with Alek, Deryn, and the rebel girl is deliciously awkward. A device called the Tesla cannon makes its appearance, and even though it's used by the Germans any reference to Tesla earns brownie points in my book. There is also a new beastie introduced in the book that's a talking primate--what's not to love? The illustrations are once again excellent and well-placed throughout the novel.
Rocks in my Socks: There isn't that much of Darwin's granddaughter in this book, and I like her. My main objection however was that I've read another book in this series without being rewarded by the big reveal scene that I've been waiting for. Granted, it wouldn't really have made sense to have it this early on in the series, but gosh darnit I still have to wait for a new book to come out before I can read it and that is definitely a rock in my sock, however unjustified the criticism may be!
Every Book its Reader: I'd recommend it to fans of steampunk, fantasy, and alternate history. There is some violence and death, but very little for a war novel. I'd give it to 6th grade and up or younger if they're strong, mature readers. I wouldn't recommend reading this without Leviathan first and I'd further recommend that waiting until the last book in the series comes out before picking it up.
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson
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