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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
Goliath - Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson Disclaimer: The last time I did a marathon read of a book was actually Westerfeld’s Behemoth, so me plowing through this in a day isn’t unheard of. That said though, this isn’t going to be as in-depth as some of my other reviews of stuff coming out this month. (Two more to go!) And I’ve been waiting for this to come out.I’m not kidding when I say that Leviathan is, hands down, the best young-adult series out right now, and Goliath did not disappoint me. I loved every second reading this. It’s a page-turner, as each new development sends Alek and Deryn across the globe to stop what potentially could be one of the most devastating wars of all time. Sure, the history’s fudged a little, but it works so well in the Leviathan-verse that I can accept Nikolai Tesla creating giant superweapons. (Which, btw, awesome.) Deryn is such a fantastic heroine. Is she hopelessly in love with Alek? Yes. Does she sit around and meeble about it? Hell no! Her job in the war is help Alek and stop things from getting worse. Deryn speaks her mind, doesn’t take crap from anyone, and even when her knee’s seriously messed up, she manages to find missions of importance without compromising her secret. At the end, she’s a little bit more world-weary and mature than the girl going up in the Huxley from the first book, but she’s still the same Deryn Sharp who boldly joined the Royal Air Force without a second thought. Alek’s development from pampered prince to badass diplomat continues from Behemoth, and I love him for it. The first few chapters deal with his extreme restlessness aboard the Leviathan, and a lot of the book deals more with his diplomatic skills, trying to convince that he’s really not a Darwinist or a Clanker, but just wants genuine peace. Also, he’s not stupid. I was really afraid that Deryn being a girl was going to be drawn out for the whole book, but Alek (finally) figures it out within a few chapters and cuts to the chase. The biggest problem isn’t “Omg my best friend is a GIRL!” but rather “Okay, so how can I trust you?” And then, they don’t mope about how horrible everything’s turned out to be. Even if they didn’t end up in a romantic relationship, I would have loved it just as much if they stayed friends for life. (And shared custody of Bovril. Because, you know, that so would have happened.) I’ve mentioned that one of the reasons that I love steampunk is for historical nods and in-jokes, and Westerfeld really pulls that off without feeling too gimmicky. Dr. Barlow has pretty much been a badass throughout the whole series (and I didn’t believe that she was surprised when Deryn revealed she was a girl). Nikolai Tesla was a fantastic edition to the cast, and I loved his morally ambiguous reasons for his weaponry. And I loved having William Randolph Hearst thrown in the mix, and Pancho Villa (with the giant bulls!) with his revolution.And the settings! I loved how we’ve been steadily getting away from the literally clashing technologies in Europe to cultures were both Darwinist and Clankers are put together. And we finally get to see how Japan and the Americas use both. Love the detail that the United States are still divided via tech. (And I really want a prequel spinoff about this verse’s Civil War.) I would really be doing the series a disservice if I didn’t talk about the astoundingly brilliant artwork by Keith Thompson. The illustrations are just so detailed and vivid, it breathes a whole new life into the story. Case in point—the scene of the Leviathan comes on a wrecked airship, and the next page is a two-page spread of the destruction with DEMONIC BIOENGINEERED BEARS STARING INTO YOUR SOUL. I can’t even imagine this series without the art, and like everything else in Goliath, every single piece is fantastic.Honestly, I cannot say one bad thing about this series and Goliath is such a fitting end. It wraps up all of the storylines without being too neat and tidy; I loved the callbacks to Deryn and Alek’s first encounters in the Alps (especially Alek’s “Bella gerant alii” at the end. Lo, there was much squeeing); and the ending is just open-ended enough to want more, but the main story has ended. I have an idea in my head that Alek and Deryn go off and have fantastic espionage missions across Europe and be badass and bicker with Dr. Barlow and freak out people whenever they accidentally snog in public. I can see this happening. Fantastic book. Really can’t say much more than that.