Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Alek and Deryn are abroad the Leviathan when the ship is ordered to pick up an unusual passenger. This brilliant/maniacal inventor claims to have a weapon called Goliath that can end the war. But whose side is he really on?
While on their top-secret mission, Alek finally discovers Deryn’s deeply kept secret. Two, actually. Not only is Deryn a girl disguised as a guy…she has feelings for Alek.
The crown, true love with a commoner, and the destruction of a great city all hang on Alek’s next–and final–move.
The one thing I like about this series is that, unlike other novels set in WWI/WWII it doesn’t mainly center the war but instead the action happens at other events surrounding it. Like, the last book was the situation in Istanbul, which isn’t directly participating in the war, but still is considered a key ally for the Clankers. Similarly, this one takes us through Russia, then Japan and then the American continents, away from the battlefield, but still strategically important power plays are going on. Alek has returned to the Leviathan, and he and Deryn both are contributing to its missions, wherever it may lead them. It heavily centers on Tesla, who claims to have made a powerful weapon that can end the war. Seeing the might of his Tesla cannons in the previous book, it is a credible threat. Alec believes in Tesla’s weapon being a deterrent to further warfare, while Deryn feels there’s some shadiness going on with Tesla’s claims.
While both are on the same ship and fighting for the same side, there are many things that come between Alek and Deryn, one of it being her feelings for him, and another being Alek’s belief that he has a destiny to fulfil. The romance subplot gets a turn in this book, but to be honest, they were so good as friends that I thought its introduction was not needed; nevertheless the open ending on that front sort of mollified me. Alek’s thoughts of destiny and responsibilities for the past two books had been directing most of his decisions, and even here it is the same, but soon he has to confront the fact that maybe he is not central in this war, and he doesn’t necessarily have to let his title define him. Deryn’s thoughts on her future after the war and her hiding her identity as a girl are also resolved well, as another avenue opens up for her.
The scope of the world in this book was expansive, as the Leviathan goes to so many places across the globe. We get snippets of the Mexican revolution, as well as a neutral America that is growing Hollywood, Japan as a mix of both techs, some weird phenomenon in the Russian wilds, and other things happening at that time. The conclusion to this series comes about very well, giving us the end of the war but also having our characters grow so much from where they were at the start of it.
Previous books in the Leviathan series