Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth coverThis is one of those books that is tough for me to review. I was reading some other reviews to get ideas, and it looked like most people LOVED this book, which was interesting to me because I was sort of “meh” about it. I mean, it was a good story, because I had a hard time putting it down, but on the other hand, it seemed like it ended in the same place as it began. Let’s see if I can explain.

****This review will contain some SPOILERS!!****

Alek, heir-in-hiding to the Austrio-Hungarian throne, and Deryn/Dylan, midshipman on the air-beast Leviathan and also girl masquerading as a boy, have finally reached the Ottoman Empire. While Deryn is playing handmaiden to diplomat Dr. Barlow while she meets with the Sultan, Alek and his friends are looking for a way to escape the ship. The British have finally joined the war, which makes Alek and his Clanker friends their enemies. Deryn and Dr. Barlow discover that the Germans have beaten them to Istanbul and have already won the Sultan to their side, which forces the Leviathan to leave early. Alek is only able to escape with a few of his friends, Count Volger is left on the ship. Not knowing what else to do, and feeling responsible for the war, Alek joins up with a groups of revolutionaries and vows to help them stop the Germans. Meanwhile, Deryn is sent on a secret mission into the city, and when the rest of her team is captured she is stranded. She finds Alek in the city and helps him and the revolutionaries. Alek reveals to Deryn that he is heir to the throne, and Deryn almost reveals that she is a girl pretending to be a boy so she can serve in the air service, but loses her nerve at the last second. At the end of the novel, everyone is back on the Leviathan at the same place they were at the beginning of the novel, they are still at war, no one knows Alek or Deryn’s true identity, and everyone is left wondering what will happen next.

I felt like this story had the same ending as the first book. The action in the middle was different, and that was exciting, and I did like Alek better in this novel. He was much less whiny and more “take charge” in his attitude. Deryn acted a little more girly and started exploring her feelings for Alek, which was interesting. I really thought she was going to finally reveal her secret, but she wimped out at the last second, which annoyed me, because I think the relationship between Alek and Deryn would have been much more interesting if she told him the truth. I did like the addition of the American reporter. Adding an American to the mix was a nice touch, as was the mention of Americans being a cross between the Clanker and Darwinist theory. Also, and this was a little thing, considering the book was called Behemoth, I would have thought the behemoth creature would have had a slightly bigger role. It was talked about for awhile, but only showed up for a few pages. Anti-climactic if you ask me.

A lot of reviewers on Goodreads mentioned that this was an excellent example of Steampunk, and that’s why they loved it. I am not a “diehard” steampunk fan–it’s alright, but I don’t love it. Maybe if I appreciated that aspect of the novel more I would have liked it better. Again, over all it wasn’t a bad book by any means. The ending just fell flat and that was unfortunate. Perhaps the third book will redeem the trilogy.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

PS – While I’m writing this review, SyFy is having one of their infamous SyFy-Original-Movie Marathons. I love SyFy Original Movies. They’re so campy and fun to pick on, with hilariously bad CGI. The one on at this present moment is coincidentally called Behemoth. I can’t wait to see the monster, haha.

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One response to “Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

  1. I read this book, along with the first and third in the series. Overall, I’d say it’s a good series. I didn’t like how behemoth was mentioned in only a few pages. While I was reading, I was thinking that I was missing the point of Behemoth, but your saying there wasn’t much too. The author could have added on to the idea of the behemoth

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