Warning: Spoilers! Don’t read unless you’re familiar with the first two books in the Leviathan series, Leviathan and Behemoth.
At BEA, some of the really big-name authors had ticketed signings. Since there was so much to see and do, I decided to skip these author signings as they were bound to be long. Scott Westerfeld was one of them, and I knew he was signing Goliath. Was I bummed to not get a copy? Yes. So imagine my surprise and delight when Jackie, the comics guru here at Lytherus, walked up holding Goliath out in front of her like baby Simba. She knew how much I loved these books, and there were extras at the publishers table so she snatched one for me. All I wanted to do was rush home and read it, but I decided to delay it, wait to savor it until the last possible moment. Since I needed to write a review, that moment was this week, as it released yesterday, September 20th.
I’ll cut right to the chase: was it worth the wait? The answer is an astounding yes.
The book picks up where Behemoth leaves off, with the awe-inspiring whale ship Leviathan having flown from the Ottoman Empire, on their way to pick up a scientist hidden away in Siberia. He claims to have a way to end the war, and so the Leviathan sets off to rescue him. Tensions are at an unbearable level between the Clankers and the Darwinists. Alek, the heir of the Clanker Austrian-Hungarian Empire, feels deep inside that it is he who is destined to end this war in whatever way possible, even if it means taking up with a scientist.
Of course we can’t forget our favorite midshipman, Deryn Sharp. She’s up to her usual daredevil antics, which I love reading about. But she’s also struggling with keeping her big secret from Alek, and not long into the book she reveals to him that she’s a girl. This is something I was waiting desperately for, because the tension building throughout the first two books was almost unbearable in my head. I kept pondering how he would find out, and when all truth is revealed, things definitely get way more interesting.
I have a confession to make: I flipped to the end and read it when I was about ¾ of the way through. I just couldn’t stand the tension, I had to know the ending and if things would work out the way I wanted them to. I never do this; I actually hate to do it, so that should tell you just how amazingly this book was written. There were the character issues, the war, and finding out everyone’s destinies. Was it worth it? Well, I was able to concentrate better through the climax of the book, though it was revealed in the last few pages, so I ruined the surprise for myself. Even so, it was so well-written and intense that I found myself getting swept away with the story, even though I knew what happened.
I also realized, while flipping through this book, I forgot to mention prior to this the amazing illustrations that are present in all three books. Artist Keith Thompson is beyond incredible at rendering the descriptions Westerfeld writes, and they really breathe life into the book, adding so much more than just the story alone.
There is so much more I’d love to say, but I’m scared I’ll ruin the book, which would just be a shame. The surprises revealed and the way the story plays out is a treat that deserves to be relished. Goliath is a perfect ending to a series that is unlike any I’ve seen. Try to fight the yearning to look at the end; I promise it will be worth the wait!