Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Abducted by Leviathan

I started my account with two or three years ago and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld was the absolute first book I put on my wish list. Why then, may I ask, did it take me so freaking long to listen to it???

I have no idea, but I am so glad that I did! It was fantastic!

I have always had an infatuation with the story of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His life, his politics, his love, his death, and his legacy have always been fascinating to me. I obviously must not have read the blurb for the book closely because I had no idea that his family (or should I say the alternate reality of his family) was the focus of the story! I guess all I really new about the novel when I put it on my wish list was that it was huge in the steampunk genre. I was so excited when I realized that the story was centered around the death of Archduke Ferdinand, and the escape of his fictional son Alek. 

Another thing I missed when I added the book to my wishlist, was that the audio version was read to me by none other then the amazing Alan Cumming! I love Alan Cumming!!! I'm telling you, if I had paid more attention in the beginning, I would have listened to this book three years ago! 

In spite of my love for Archduke Ferdinand and Alan Cumming, a funny thing happened when I was listening to the audio book. I was literally half way through the book and I realized I wasn't really following the story as much as I should have been. The audio book is 8 hours long and when I got to the beginning of hour 4 a fight was breaking out and I couldn't remember who was fighting or why. 

And I know this may sound crazy, but because I was enjoying the story (even though I was a little lost) I decided to go all the way back to the beginning and start over, instead of just finishing it! Now, I wouldn't have done that for just any book, but Leviathan was worth it! And I'm glad I did, because I ended up loving the book!

The story is told through the perspective of Alek, the son of Archduke Ferdinand. His story picks up the night of the assassination of his parents. Two of his teachers come in late that night and take him away from the castle to protect him. In a nutshell, Archduke Ferdinand married a lady in waiting named Sophie. Because she was not as high up on the chain as the Archduke's family required, they only allowed the couple to marry if they agreed that neither her, nor their children, could ever inherit his title. However, this does lead to confusion after the assassination as to who does have power. Which leaves Alek on the run for his life. 

The other perspective of the story is a young women named Deryn Sharp. Her story picks up the morning that she is off to join the Royal Air Service, disguising herself as a boy named Dylan. Deryn was strong and smart, but she also had a very innocent side to her that I appreciated. You can tell that feelings are going to arise between the two characters but that is not the main focus of this story by a long shot. Alek and Deryn form a fast friendship, but that is all for this first novel.

The story was complex with politics, but also highly enjoyable! I loved it so much I can't wait to buy the book and read it for myself. That also leads to the turmoil of what to do next! Do I wait until I can buy the book and read the sequel for myself, or do I get the audio version again so I can have Alan Cumming keep reading to me? Hmm...decisions, decisions...

As far as what to rate, that is a bit tricky... The book was fun and imaginative. I would trade in my cell phone any day for a talking lizard! They sound adorable. Plus the ships were amazing! I mean I knew the Leviathan was a living creature, but I didn't really get it until Alek came on board. I was cringe uncontrollably when Alek was talking about walking around the creatures rib cage. But, as entertaining as the book was at times, it did take me a while to get into it. I mean, even after I restarted it that one time, the story still didn't pick up for me until Alek and Deryn met, which was half way through the book. 

I'm going to give it an abduction rating of...
but trust me, it is a very VERY high FOUR!!!


Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase said...

I really can't believe I haven't read this yet, since I love Scott Westerfeld! I also own Peeps and haven't read that yet, either! What kind of a fan am I?!? Anyway, I didn't know that the ships they're on were living creatures! I mean the name "Leviathan" suggests some kind of underwater creature, but I guess I never thought of it that way! Great review, Courtney, and I vote for buying the books, but I do love Alan Cumming, so that's a hard decision!

fakesteph said...

I totally wasn't sure about this one until I read this review. I want to read it now. :)

fakesteph said...

And Peeps is my all time favorite vampire novel.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Visiting you from On The Wings Of Books. What a great blog you have, very interesting and with soe great reviews.

Nice to have met you, I've enjoyed my visit, best wishes, PW.

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