Discuss away! Sorry the thread is late, I forgot... |:(
I find there's a lot to say about this book, but I'll (try to...) limit my rambling to the couple of things I liked most about it.
I really love this novel (and its sequel, Behemoth, too). It just has so many different elements to appeal to so many different readers: it's a steampunk adventure, a coming-of-age story, a romance, a graphic novel, and an alternate history all in one, to name only a few. The illustrations are gorgeous, but I especially like how well they complement the text. I think one of the main reasons the book never really lost my interest is that, even when it waxed descriptive on things I know very little about (such as anatomy and steam-powered technology), I never had any trouble visualising what was happening. So I think the idea of returning to an older tradition of illustrated novels was clever, and worked well.
I also appreciate how well-researched the novel is. I haven't read any of Westerfeld's other books, so I don't know if he always researches in such detail (although I get the impression he does), but I was struck by how believable his alternate history was, and how detailed his depictions of this world's technology. This novel is a great example of the steampunk genre's potential, I think.
Not only that, but it also balances this world-building with what is, to me, the most important aspect of any story: good characterisation. I'm a bit leery of multiperspectival novels, since I tend to latch onto a particular character and resent time spent away from them, but I really liked both Deryn and Alek, and enjoyed their stories equally. I really look forward to seeing more of them (after Behemoth, I mean, though I felt the same after finishing Leviathan), especially as I really can't guess where the story's heading, and I also look forward to seeing where their relationship goes. (Not a particularly large spoiler, but just in case.)
I will stop gushing about this awesome book now. :P
I started it this morning, I'm about halfway through now, and I'm really liking it! I love the illustrations!! They're really well done and help to explain the strange things really well!
Fifi, I agree, I love the characters! You'll be so in to Alek and it'll get to Deryn's turn and you're like "No, I want to know what happens... Oooh..." and get completely distracted by Deryn's turn. I also like how they don't just get one chapter each and it swaps, it'll stay with one character for three chapters if that's how long it takes to tell this part of the story.
Anyway, have to get back to reading!
I love this book! I'll have to make my comments on it later; I'm just about to go out.
I finished the book last night and couldn't sleep because I was so anxious to get to the bookstore and buy Behemoth!
I'm amazed at the author's imagination; the whole blending of past and future elements really blew me away! The characterization was also phenomenal! I love that Alek is relatively serious (but lovable and kind!) and Deryn is such a wonderful, hilarious character!
EDIT: I would also like to add that this is the first fiction book in which I have heard mention of a cuttlefish !amazed Very exciting stuff to a nerd like me!