Author: Scott Westerfeld (You might recognize him as the author of Uglies/Pretties)
Genre: YA, steampunk
Source: Borrowed from library
I have to thank you all...anyone who read and reviewed or talked about this novel. I usually only put stock in masses of reviews when I'm torn on reading a novel, but I couldn't miss the talk about this book. It was everywhere. You were right....this is an awesome book!
This is my first foray into the wonderful world of steampunk literature. I'm not sure why, I've just not found any that really caught my attention. Some of my trepidation has been do to my issues with historical fiction. I become too obsessed with minor details. I end up researching instead of reading the novel. I was partially worried that something similar would occur if I read steampunk. But it seems like I've lucked out. Being in an alternative world scenerio eleviates all the lingering "is this accurate historical?" questions.
Summary blurb from website:
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.
What I like:
1. There is an interesting balance between the Clankers and the Darwinists. Both groups are taken to extremes, but their roots are easy to see. It's nice that both groups are given an equal amount of time, and the narrator doesn't seem to take sides or promote one over the other
2. There is an interesting bit of deception going on with Deryn. I'm excited to see where it goes.
3. I'm biased. I love the beasties that were created by the Darwinists. The combination of linguistic imagry and visuals (from the awesome illustrator Keith Thompson) made the reading experience. I think my favorite would have to be the jellfish like Huxleys.
What I dislike:
1. I'm not keen on the way Deryn's deception is playing out. The lengths to which Deryn goes to appear to be someone else are just ridiculous. Would anyone really do anything like that?
Overall: This is a fantastic read! Everyone should give it a try....steampunk fan or not. Parents and teachers will also want to take a look as many of the beasts and mechanics are named after famous (in our actual world) people, things, and events. This could lead to several conversations about where the names come from and how they apply. Outside of that, this novel is entertaining with a mix of action, adventure, deception, and a tinge of romance.
**This novel qualifies for the Speculative Fiction reading challenge**