Westerfeld, Scott GOLIATH (Book Three of Leviathan Trilogy), 560 pages, Simon Pulse, 2011, $19.99. Violence-PG.
Having assisted the rebels in the Ottoman revolution, Alek, the heir to the Austrian-Hungry Empire, and Deryn, a female midshipman masquerading as a boy in the British Air Service, barely make it back to the airship, Leviathan, as it turns east and heads across Russia in this alternative-reality of World War I. As they travel from one end of the world to another, Deryn and Alek encounter real-life characters like Nikola Tesla, William Randolph Hearst, and Pancho Villa. Battles are fought, secrets unraveled, and plots revealed as Alek and Deryn try to watch each others’ backs and remain allies as their pasts and futures collide in Westerfeld’s satisfying conclusion to the Leviathan Trilogy. If you have the first two books, you will definitely need this riveting conclusion in your collection; if you do not, I recommend the whole series. Easily the most accessible steampunk written for middle school and high school readers, Westerfeld uses Clanker technology and Darwinist fabricated animals to represent the two opposing ideologies of early 20th century Europe. Illustrator Keith Thompson’s pencil drawings are beautiful and essential to realizing Westerfeld’s vision of man, beast and machine. With an independent, fiery female hero, this grand adventure of a series will appeal to both female and male readers. MS/HS- Essential. Reviewer: Gretchen