Book Review: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson

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(Book 2 in the Leviathan trilogy)
by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson
9781416971757, $18.99, Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
At the end of Leviathan, book one in the Leviathan trilogy, midshipman-in-disguise female:Deryn/male:Dylan Sharp and fugitive prince-in-disguise Alek had just combined forces to escape a German attack. Using Clanker technology (engines from their fighting machine, the Stormwalker) to help propel the Darwinist airship Leviathan back into the skies, the ship is now back on its way to Constantinople so that Charles Darwin’s granddaughter can deliver her super-secret, as-yet-unhatched, new type of beastie in a peace-keeping attempt.
Yet before they can reach Constantinople, the Leviathan must contend with German aircrafts and a new super-weapon known as a Tesla cannon. The Tesla canon is a lightening generator, a weapon that harnesses the power of electricity to shoot rays at live Darwinist creations, basically causing instant death for the beasties and every living thing on board.
As Alek and Deryn continue to be thrust together, it is growing more difficult for Deryn to deny her growing crush. Alek has shared so many of his secrets with her – who he really is, what happened to his family, what would happen to him if the Germans caught him – that it seems unfair Deryn hasn’t shared any of her own secrets. But can she really trust Alek? If she risks telling him her secret, more than just exposure, she may also be risking her heart, and that may be one risk too many.
Though I’m often disappointed by the second novels in a trilogy, as they sometimes read like placeholders between the action sequences in books 1 & 3, Behemoth lived up to its potential with plenty of action, moral dilemmas, intriguing secondary plots, introducing new secondary characters, and in general sustaining one heck of a good steampunk series.
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