There’s not a whole lot more I can say here that I haven’t already said in my review for Leviathan, the first in this trilogy by Mr. Westerfeld. Like its predecessor, Behemoth got me thinking a lot about the circumstances leading up to World War I, enough so that I did a lot of research while reading this novel to see how much of it followed the historical record. Considering that I’m not much of a history buff, that’s pretty impressive, at least to me.
It makes me wonder, though, if people who are versed in history would get a lot out of the story. Knowing where things are going would remove a lot of the tension from the story, because while Westerfeld tells the story well by using interesting characters, knowing the general direction of the story might take a little bit away from the overall feel of the book. Of course, the book was written with young adults in mind, and Westerfeld admits in his afterword that he took some dramatic license with some of the facts, so maybe it was an attempt to get his audience more interested in the real history behind the story. Besides, if I’m an adult who doesn’t know the history that well, and sought it out while reading the novel, certainly there are a few others out there like me who would do the same.
I still think this series is a slightly better read than the Uglies series was, if only because the historical context seems to make it a little more grounded and realistic, despite the futuristic steampunkiness of the books. I’m looking forward to reading the third book, if for no other reason than to get caught up on the historical details behind it.