Author: Scott Westerfeld / Illustrations by Keith Thompson
Genre: Steampunk, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse (US & UK)
Publication Date: September 20th 2011 / September 29th 2011
Hardcover: 537 pages
Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.
The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy.
Stand alone or series: Final book in the Leviathan trilogy.
How did I get this book: Review copy from the UK publisher
WARNING: there will be necessary spoilers for books 1 and 2. If you haven’t read this series yet and don’t want to be spoiled, do not read on. You have been warned!
Goliath is the final instalment in the Leviathan trilogy and after loving Leviathan and Behemoth so much, I was on tenterhooks, waiting to see how everything would be wrapped up.
Leaving the revolution in Istanbul behind, our intrepid protagonists Alek and Deryn go back to their (now) regular lives aboard the Leviathan travelling all over the world, from the wilderness of Siberia to Japan, where they witness a country that combine both Clanker and Darwinist technology; and then all the way to the neutral USA and to a Mexico in the midst of a popular revolution. In their travels, they meet famous figures like Pancho Villa and are joined by scientist/investor Tesla aboard their ship who is developing a weapon called the Goliath, which he promises will put an end to the raging War.
On a more personal level, Alek and Deryn are sadly, getting ready to say goodbye to each other. Alek has revealed his secret identity as heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and guided by his own belief that it’s his role to put a stop to the World War becomes Tesla’s ally and plans on leaving the ship when they reach the USA. Since this is the final book, it comes as no surprise that Alek finds out that his best friend Dylan is in fact, a girl named Deryn, and whereas he agrees to keep her secret, they both fear it is only a matter of time until everybody else finds out her true identity.
There is a lot of the madcap adventure and great action sequences (most of them led by Deryn) that I have come to expect from this series plus awesomely fascinating details about the beginning of the movies. Furthermore, a lot of the book concentrated on the characters and their relationships and since I love both characters so dearly, I was actually extremely happy about this and with the way things developed (and ended) between them. On that front, Goliath was a delight to read. It was as fun, romantic and engaging as I hoped it would be. And of course, Keith Thompson’s illustrations are still fantastic.
Having said that, since this is a trilogy-ender I can’t help but to look at it very critically and so, I do have a few nits to pick. Re-reading my review of Leviathan, the first book in the series, and revisiting my hopes for the trilogy, I thought that many things weren’t satisfactorily addressed in the end. I’ve always felt slightly uneasy about how the Darwinists used living creatures and I hoped for more ethical/moral questioning of this and even though there was some, I feel they were too sparse to make an impression – in fact, the Darwinists effectively came across to me as the ultimate, definite heroes of this series.
Regardless of how good I felt about all things Deryn and Alek, I did think that Alek went from being best friends with a boy to falling in love with a girl far too quickly and far too easily. Yes, there was some angst but I didn’t feel it was enough or as impacting as it could have been. I also thought that the great inventor and scientist Tesla was portrayed in a less than sympathetic way. In fact, he was far too close to being a mad villain and even though I do appreciate this is an alternate reality and as such anything is up for grabs, I felt slightly uncomfortable about this. I don’t expect a lot of people will feel the same way and I understand this is a very subjective point of view.
I know it might sound as though I didn’t like Goliath but that’s not true at all. It is because I love this series and these characters so much that I feel the need to put all my feelings out there.
On its own, Goliath may not be as good as its predecessors but it is a satisfactory conclusion to what is overall, an absolutely recommended, awesome series. I know I am going to miss waiting anxiously year after year for an instalment, I am going to miss this crazy-cool world and above all I will miss the characters, especially my girl Deryn who is a barking incredible heroine.
Notable quotes/parts: A spoilery illustration! But isn’t this awesome? (Click to enlarge!)
Rating: 8 – Excellent
Reading next: All Men of Genius by Lev Ac Rosen
GIVEAWAY DETAILS: To celebrate the ending of this fantastic trilogy, we have the most awesome giveaway ever: two lucky winners, two awesome prizes.
Prize #1: winner #1 gets the entire trilogy in audiobooks, which are narrated by none other than Alan Cumming PLUS a signed audiobook script cover by both Scott Westerfeld AND Alan Cumming).
Prize #2: winner #2 gets the entire trilogy in print. copies
The contest is open to US and CANADA addresses ONLY and will run until Saturday, October 1 at 11:59PM (PST). In order to enter, leave a comment here telling us which is your favourite character in the series. Only one entry per person, please! Multiple comments will be automatically disqualified. Good luck!
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