Hardcover, 440 pages
Source: eBook, purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
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.The synopsis itself snagged me on this one. I love period pieces, but add in steampunk with that and it's a shoe-in for me to read. This alternate world during WWI is a perfect introduction to steampunk for those that haven't been initiated yet and an excellent addition to those who have been.
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.
The world created by Westerfeld is fascinating and the reader can easily get engrossed. The details he gives shows a clear picture of what the characters experience through the whole book. Along with that, the illustrations appearing in the book by Keith Thompson are amazing and so intricate I looked forward to seeing each one after the first. There is also something so organic about this type of book. It gives new meaning to "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and "Going Green", but as always, there's critics to this.
The action begins from page one. I was glued to the book from that point on. Alek's journey sets the stage and fast pace for the book. It then switches to Deryn's point of view every two chapters or so. This was an excellent way to make the story line flow and keep the reader enthralled with what was going to happen next. The combination of real life and created events meld perfectly to form a harmonious plot. I love that some actual names, events, and places are involved. It makes me feel like I could lived through the same experiences that the characters have. I'm not sure how history buffs feel about this, but the aspect is definitely a plus in my book!
Alek seems like he is very mature for his age compared to most males. Through his decisions, I could tell that he'd been raised carefully and dutifully to be a leader, but he comes by a lot of it naturally I think. He has a very good ability of adjusting and changing his actions to whatever may come into his path and carrying on like it was nothing. Deryn's story is particularly interesting to me. I love the idea that she had the guts to go after and work constantly for what she wanted, regardless of the cost and constant threat of being discovered. She defies many conventions by joining the British Air Service and keeps that headstrong attitude to earn her own way. Together, they create an astounding dynamic duo that I laughed, cried, and shouted for numerous times on their journey.
This book is all about journeys and the trials and tribulations that go with them. The alternate world envisioned by Westerfeld is one that anybody can imagine themselves living in. The paths taken by the characters could be easily labeled as epic and surreal. I can honestly say I can recommend this book to anyone. It has left me only wanting more and I can't wait to dig in to the next round of action in Bohemoth!