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

 

Empress of A Thousand Skies by: Rhonda Belleza

Summary:

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

The Review:

This book was on my Top 5 Wednesday: Debuts I am Excited For, mainly because I am a fan of sci fi epics, and judging by the blurb it looked like that what I was in for.

The story takes place on several different points of the galaxy, and is told through two perspectives Rhee, the heir to the empire and Alyosha or Aly, a refugee and star of a very popular TV show or Drone vision. I am of course a fan of books with duo perspectives because it gives a us a closer look at the world the book takes in from different sides. As the story starts off both characters are basically fugitives on the run, and it really dives right into the plot. It starts when Rhee almost getting killed, and realizing that she has been betrayed. Aly, is the one who is blamed for it, mainly because of he is a Wraetan, and was also set by someone he trusted.

Throughout the book, both of them are trying to figure out what’s happening and why. With Rhee, she suspects that it has something to do with a Treaty that was suppose to be ratified in order to keep peace among the galaxy. It was also because of the peace deal, that her family ended up being killed. Aly is trying to clear his name, and figure out why the assassination took place.

I like both characters of the book. Both of them have good arcs to their story and you could see them changing throughout the book, also they also don’t actually cross paths in this book, which is a strange choice by the author, but I think they will in future.

One of my main problems with the book, is how the world building was handled. With world building I want to feel as if I am in space, and I feel that a lot of the back story was kinda glossed over, and in a SFF book world building should have been better. I also felt a lot of the plot was very rushed , and the action didn’t take its time to breathe or slow down. I also felt that the supporting characters were also very thinly developed, and just sort of came and went with the plot. I think some may have a bigger role in the next book.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like the book but when compared to other books such as Red Rising, and Starflight, it just kinda feel flat.

In the end, Empress of a Thousand Skies, was good but a bit disappointing. It had good main characters but the story was very rushed and lacked a lot of the world building I like from other SFF books.

Grade: 3/5