My rating: 5 of 5 stars
‘Goliath’ is the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Leviathan’ trilogy and brought the series to a satisfying conclusion. Although it would probably be enjoyable on its own, it would be better to have read the first two, ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Behemoth’, to begin with.
What I enjoy most about these books is the steampunk world in which they are set and the way in which this provides an alternative history of the world at the beginning of World War I. The tensions between the fabricated beasties of the Darwinists and the mechanical machines of the Clankers provide a good foundation for the overall story, where the supporters of each of these ideologies line up against each other for world supremacy. It is interesting to note, however, that in the story there are countries where Darwinists and Clankers are able to coexist in harmony, which may offer hope for their future.
The story, as in the previous two books, takes place mainly on board the ‘Leviathan’, which is a giant Darwinist fabricated air-beast, made from a whale. The story centres around the two main characters of Alek, a prince without a throne, and Deryn, who is disguised as a boy (Dylan) so that she can fly as part of the British Air Service. The Goliath of the title is a weapon that its brilliant/maniacal inventor claims can end the war.
The first two books end in cliffhangers, but this one ends quite satisfactorily, although if the author wanted he could write the continued story of Alek and Deryn beyond life on board the Leviathan. There are enough loose ends left untied for your imagination, but at least the main ones are brought to a satisfying end.
‘Goliath’, as with the previous two books, moves at a good pace. It is the kind of book that you are reluctant to put down once you start reading. The action begins in Siberia and ends up in New York, with stops in many other places along the way, including Japan, California, and Mexico.
Although there is the violent backdrop of WWI, none of the fighting is described too graphically. People die, because that is the reality of war. Common Sense Media rates it for 12 years old, which I would say is probably about right.
If you are looking for a great series to read this summer at the beach, or wherever you are going to spend your spare time, then this may be what you are looking for. The series has some very positive role models and may serve as a good read for your young ones if you are worried, at this stage, about the suitability of other popular series such as ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Delirium’ (please note: I’m not saying that these are bad series, but that parents just need to be aware of their content before letting their younger ones read them – commonsensemedia.org is a great place for guidance in this type of thing).
After reading the ‘Leviathan’ trilogy I’m ready for some more steampunk. So I’m open to recommendations!