Leviathan by: Scott Westerfeld

Summary:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

The Review:

This book has been on my TBR for a long time, and I finally picked it up last week, and now I am kicking myself wondering why it took me so long to read this book.

The story is set within an alternative historical take on World War II, with a lot of steampunk elements to it. It makes a few changes such as hanging how the war started. Instead of an assassination it was a poisoning of the Archduke and his wife that started the war. Now Alek is on the run from those who want to kill him, especially with him being an heir to Austria-Hungary.

With the elements of World War I, was really good. Westerfeld added the Clankers vs. Darwinists twist to the story. I really liked the design of the Clankers, they reminded me a lot of the AT-ATs from Star Wars, and it still felt like it was built in World War I. The Darwinists has vehicles lead by animals. Seeing the designs in the book really made it easier to be pictured in my head.

Alek, is one of the main protagonists, and while he is prince, he doesn’t come across as snobby and he always wants in on the action. Throughout the book he is of course on the run, and trying to figure out what happened to his parents. Deryn is another protagonist. She dresses up like a boy in order to join the army. She is very brilliant, and she reminded me a lot of Herminone with a little bit of Mulan in her. I like how you see the war from her point of view, and I also like seeing the Darwinists and their ships. She spends a majority of the time training with them.

I also really like the supporting characters. Count Volger is a great father figure to Alek after his parents die. Dr. Nora Barlow is a British scientist who has a great personality and is very brilliant.

The world building is also really good. Scott Westerfeld does a good job at presenting us with a World War I, with a lot of great steampunk elements to it, and it doesn’t feel like it was out of date, which is a real danger when dealing with steampunk set in the past. It also provided a lot of elements and information about World War I without feeling as if it was info dumping.

In the end, Leviathan was a very good read, that takes Alternative Historical fiction and mixes a lot of steampunk and science fiction elements to it. Both characters are extremely well developed and the plot has you turning the page at every turn.

Grade: 5/5

 

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If & Then Thursday 6/15/2017

Happy Thursday everyone, and here is another If & Then Thursday

If&Then Thursdays is a book meme created by Alex@ Young at Heart Books. How do you participate? It’s easy! All you have to do is choose two books that are somewhat related in theme, writing style, genre, etc. Tell us how they are similar and why we would like them! All recommendations should be made in this format:

“If you like Book A, then you might enjoy Book B”

If you liked:

A great alternative fiction novel, set if Hitler won the war, dealing with a race in order to get close enough to Hitler to kill him.  It also does a good job at seeing a world in which the Axis powers has won.

Than you might like:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Why: Both books are set within alternative historical settings. While Leviathan has a more steampunk take on World War I, they still give us an exciting historical world to read about. They also both have great female characters in Deryn and Yael, who are both willing to get the job done.

 

Wolf-by-Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Summary: 

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and I, or imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

The Review:

One of the first books of 2017, or started in 2016 and than finished in 2017 so it counts. Also a good that I wanted to finally in 2017, and it didn’t disappoint.

I really like alternative historical fiction because it asks the “What if” questions in history. With this book it is “what if the Axis powers own WWII?” it reminded me a lot of Man in the High Castle, which is a show that I really like as well, which is also set in a world in which the Axis powers won WWII.

Yael, is a great female protagonist in the book. She reminded me a lot of Katniss with a little bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is a go getter who is willing to risk everything in order to achieve her mission which is to kill Hitler. I also like how the use of flashbacks added a lot more to her character and gave her more depth. You really see what she went through before she entered the race. She is also a shape shiftier and could change into any person she wants to, which is why she does the job of entering the race under another name.

The world-building is great, it really does a good job setting up a world in which the Axis powers won, and how it affects the characters of the world. The author did a great job setting up the what if story and providing details. She also did a good job at setting up the race and the rules of the race, and why Yael must enter and win the race. The race scenes in the book was also very engaging and did a good job at keeping the suspense throughout the book, and plot took a lot of twist and turns especially for a very simple plot.

The supporting characters are also great and well developed such as Felix, her “brother” who is also in the race. He is basically Yael’s emotional support and you get a pick at their relationship even though Yael is playing someone else she still tries to have that relationship with Felix. Another is Luka, who is a rival racer. Even though you kinda see where his character is going in terms of arcs, but he was a good character overall and I actually did like their relationship even though at points it was going to be a little predictable.

I also felt if I were to point out a negative it would be mainly the ending and how it ended kinda on a cliff hangar. I know a sequel has already been released, but my problem with the ending was that it had a a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied up and I hope the sequel does that.

In the end, Wolf-by-Wolf does an amazing job with giving us an alternate view of the world in which the Axis powers rule. It had great and engaging characters, with a great story in which you want to see what happens next.

Grade: 4/5