mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Zmei. (54)

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, art by Keith Thompson.

From the door she cried:
"Darwin, set down your chainsword!"
But Charles smiled, grim.

I didn't have a lot to say other than general & overwhelming enthusiasm for Leviathan. I read Behemoth in the middle of the last NaNoWriMo, so I gave that a clipped review, even though I liked it better than the first one-- which is saying something. I'm afraid I might be stuck in the same situation here! I really, really like these books, & Goliath closes the trilogy with a strong finish. The books are so character driven but at the same time so well plotted, that it is hard to discuss it without giving out too many spoilers. I will say this: of course Nikola Tesla is in this book-- Westerfeld isn't afraid to pull out all the stops, also including my second-favorite mysterious impact event, Tunguska (Chicxulub is first). We also get a tour of the world-- Behemoth gave us a good glimpse at the Ottoman mechanical creations, & while Goliath doesn't go as in-depth in any one culture, we get glimpses of what else is going on in the Diesel- & Bio-punk World War I. The giant modified bears of Russia's czar, as well as the two-headed imperial eagle. Japan's swarming kappa, overwhelming Clanker battleships. Pancho Villa's giant fabricated bulls & manta-ray air force. The Pinkerton crowd control walkers & Hearst's mechanized camera platforms. All solid worldbuilding, but the tension holding it together is Deryn & Alek's respective secrets, & their relationship with each other. Very well done, bravo & all that. Keith Thompson really outdoes himself with the art-- "Pancho Villa" & the portrait of Doctor Barlow in the back are probably my favorite. This is an exceptional slipstream work, & Westerfeld talks a bit about liberties & the inspirations for his historical detour, & he muses about what changes Alek, Deryn/Dylan & the crew of The Leviathan might have wrought on the future of that world. Perhaps this is a bit early, but I for one would really like to see Westerfeld tackle World War II from this world's perspective. Japanese kaiju kept in massive kennels at Hiroshima & Nagasaki? Or is that too much? I can't tell.

("Crashing a Bash" by Keith Thompson, posted by Scott Westerfeld on April 1st, 2011.)
Tags: books, haiku, leviathan, steampunk, westerfeld

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