Missed parts 1 and 2 of this series review? See the links at the bottom of this post.
In this final instalment of the Leviathan series, the ship is sent to Russia with several tonnes of beef. Upon arrival, they are stunned to see an entire forest felled and must rescue Tesla, (yes, the Tesla) the man who caused the destruction. Oh, did I mention he needed saving from his own bears?
The Serbian-American scientist claims to have invented a weapon so great, he can level cities from half a world away. He practically commandeers the Leviathan, just so he can return to his lab in New York sooner. And they do his bidding. See, when the other guy has a bigger gun, you cater to his needs. Even if that means turning your ship into a giant flying radio and making the entire crew serve as his footmen.
Tesla wants to use the weapon to end the war but must first publicise his invention. A threat no one knows about isn’t very scary. He enlists Alek to help; the title of Serene Highness of Austria is great publicity. But Alek has a hard choice to make: stop Tesla and lose his chance to end the war, or risk Tesla using the weapon on Vienna, where 2 million of Alek’s own people live.
See, Germany wasn’t the one that attacked Serbia. Austria was.
The Quills: 7/10
And then, without a perspicacious loris whispering the truth into his ear, [Alek] finally understood. [Deryn] hadn’t come to Istanbul as a soldier at all. And she never would have revealed her secret to [him], for the simplest reason in the world.
Deryn Sharp was in love with him.
-Scott Westerfeld, Goliath
Gosh, Alek actually has a personality now. It’s taken a while but late is better than never.
The tone of this book is similar to its prequels but the spunk gets turned down another notch to make room for a bit more emotion. It’s still not romantic in the least, but better than the blunt statements of Behemoth. Even so, Goliath has plenty of in-your-face moments as well.
The pacing of this book has slowed dramatically from the previous one. Alek and Deryn hop from banquet to banquet, with a lot of food descriptions, chats with reporters, and, as Deryn would say, pointless blether.
It makes up for the slow pace with a lot of clever historical references. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how effective those are. The voice of this book sounds like an upper middle-grade read, or for the younger young adults , so many of the details are probably lost on the younger audience. I’m positive most of them don’t understand references to things like Pavlov’s dogs or the allusion to the age-old question, “If a tree falls in an empty forest…” You know, philosophy classes gave me a headache.
The new characters of this book are largely caricatures and stereotypes. All the reporters are nosy and obnoxious. Not a lot of characterization occurs of anyone besides Alek. He, on the other hand, has emotions. He has dreams and wishes and goals. The beginning of his personality from Behemoth really grew.
The theme of destiny is weaved in a little heavy-handedly, more so than the previous book, but it does make the ending more satisfying. The ending was not unpredictable, but the outcome suited the characters. There are some unresolved questions at the end of this series, but they aren’t serious ones.
The Roses: 6.5/10
Why hello there, Alek. How nice to finally meet you. I like the person Alek has become, and the person Deryn has stayed.
To me, it felt like there was a lot of filler in the book. I didn’t really need to know what they ate or how full they felt after the meals. Their entire trip down Mexico way seemed a little pointless to me. One could argue that it brought a bigger world to the book and highlighted some of the background events during the war, but ultimately it didn’t matter to the plot.
This book does wrap up the overarching plot nicely and I like the slightly mysterious ending. However, because the storytelling didn’t have too much emotional content, the decisions the characters made in the end felt a little inconsequential. The novel didn’t show if they were torn over their choices, so it almost felt like a shrug with a “Hey, I guess I’ll choose that,” when in my head I know the choices they made were hard decisions.
Overall, this series was a great, light read and introduced a fantastic twist on an old and worn topic. The world is vibrant and alive (and now I really want a Loris). While the characters could afford to round out a bit, they’re all still very fun. Except for the annoying ones that were clearly meant to be annoying.
This series won’t bring you the rage and despair of war or the desperation and heartbreak of love, but if you’re looking for a fun, bring-a-smile-to-your-face twist to war, (How shocking are those words? Geez, a fun war?) on the Leviathan is the place to be.