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Leviathan

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson it might be a mistake to rate or review Young Adult (YA) fiction. teenagers are far noisier and chattier than adults, so the consequence of merely adding a few YA titles to your list is that the GoodReads landing page (the page that appears after you sign-in) becomes constantly renewed with 13 years olds screeching about Katniss Everdeen or Draco Malfoy. Ugh. The actual content is not so invasive as is the fact that it tends to drown out the more thoughtful entries and discussions.

Sometimes, though, a work is sufficiently good that you feel an obligation to the writer to at least provide the informal support that an internet rating permits. This is the case for Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN, one of those titles like DIVERGENT that the average reader has probably heard of a dozen times, but dismissed more or less as mere "YA." But like HUNGER GAMES (the last YA title I've read), LEVIATHAN has considerable adult appeal. it's swashbuckling adventure fiction and tightly-plotted action. the target age group is probably a notch younger than HUNGER GAMES (no angst-ridden late teenagers, no wink-and-nod complexes hidden in plain sight), but certainly as a formal task, the resulting biopunk/steampunk action is pretty accomplished.

LEVIATHAN is about an alternate steampunk WWI, where the Central Powers are running armored robots that range from a half-covering powered armor suit to a gigantic landship that fires several kilometers away and requires its own fleet of scout spotters and contains stables and barracks for a regiment. opposing this high-powered (by our world standards) setup is the, of course, far more delightful and ironic Darwinists-- WWI UK but with the ability to gene-modify lizards and parrots into mobile communication devices, bats into strike weapons, and best of all, an entire whale with assorted support fauna into a flying hydrogen-filled dirigible. 

the result? swashbuckling land action and Horatio Alger in the skies Royal Navy adventure written for the tween set. 4/5 highly accomplished work, although competely missing every opportunity to flip a concept over to the adult set. this is tween fiction without undertone, straight innocent kids' stuff.