leedock’s CBR-III Review #37-“Goliath” – Scott Westerfeld

In a world where a perspicacious loris has it all figured out and the bowler hat is seemingly the international accessory for scientists, the Leviathan trilogy reigns. The conclusion to Westerfeld’s trilogy (see Leviathan and Behemoth), is an inventive spin on the First World War and a Shakespearean love story looking through the rose-colored goggles of steam punk.

That kooky Tesla is back wielding an even bigger weapon, the Goliath, that supposedly draws its energy from the earth’s core. Its destructive force may be enough to end the war if you can put your faith in a madman. Huzzah, the greater good!

Alex, Deryn/Dylan and the crew of the Leviathan are back and busy rescuing Tesla from starving Russian bears, averting a potentially fatal misunderstanding with Pancho Villa and unwittingly becoming stars of print and screen. While there is a lot of gun play and aeronautic acrobatics, this story is more about the underlying love story of Alex and Deryn.  When a nosy American reporter discovers that Dylan is really Deryn posing as a boy in order to serve with the British Air Service, she must face the possibility that she will be seen as a humiliation to the men she serves with and nothing but a lovesick commoner to the boy she loves.

These stories are flat-out fun.  The more serious themes of gender bias, class and war are  always tempered by an impossible machine or outrageous fabricated beast around every corner. Westerfeld has truly created an unforgettable world.

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