Tag Archives: scott westerfeld

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
Book Reviews
September 13, 2010 posted by ashley

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

If I got to write a letter to the author of Leviathan, I’d say, “Scott Westerfeld, don’t be that guy- that guy who has a great idea for a story and then ruins it by dumbing it down for his readers”. I read the first two books in his Uglies series, and it was a struggle just to make it that far. Westerfeld creates these amazing worlds which feel so familiar and yet very exciting. He has strong willed main characters with something to fight for. But then there’s the lingo that he insists on hitting you over the head with, which for me, really made me cringe during his steampunk alternate history, Leviathan.

The story takes place on the brink of World War I, and follows two very different characters: Aleksandar Ferdinand, the prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Deryn Sharp, a girl masquerading as a boy in the British Air Service. Austria-Hungary is on the side of the Axis (called Clankers in the book, for their machine warfare), while Britain is on the side of the Allies (called Darwinists for the use of their “fabricated” beasts). While the two are on opposite sides of the war, they are facing many of the same problems. Both have lost parents, have had to be on their own, and have egos that need serious humbling. The world of Leviathan is refreshingly unique and awe-inspiring. Whales as zeppelins, lizards as messengers, enormous machines like robots that you can sit inside and walk around in…I really wish this world were real.

Despite how cool the world is though, I can’t say that I loved this book. The lingo drives me absolutely bonkers. Every few pages, I was cringing over words like “clart” (excrement), “barking” (f***ing), “boffins” (well educated adults)… I get it. The point of the lingo is to make the story seem otherworldly, but mainly I was just annoyed. I got so wrapped up in decoding what everyone was saying that I wasn’t really paying attention to the story. I felt cheated with this story because I was expecting it to be so much more; I really thought Westerfeld would raise the bar and write something that was difficult and deep, but I got more of Uglies: a cool world with no substance.

I will say that the art of the book is fantastic. The illustrations throughout are beautifully done and really add to the story. The cover art drew me in from the beginning, covered in cogs and wheels like the inside of a mad clock. My favorite part was definitely the map of the Great War on the inside front and back covers, with each country represented by an animal or some machine. While I didn’t much care for the story of Leviathan, I loved the world of Darwinists and Clankers, and can’t wait to find out more about how each side builds their weaponry in Behemoth, the sequel due out this October.

Publication date: 2009
Pages: 464
Rating: : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “Maybe this was how you stayed sane in wartime: a handful of noble deeds amid the chaos.

Uglies Movie
June 21, 2009 posted by Nikki

Uglies Movie

Fans of the popular Scott Westerfeld book, Uglies, may have heard that the book is being made into a movie. Westerfeld updated his blog recently with some exciting news for his fans regarding movie progress:

Uglies is currently optioned to be a movie, or possibly a series of movies if the first one does well. To “option” a book is Hollywood-speak for buying the exclusive right to make a movie based on it. But the buyers don’t have to make a movie. Most options never go anywhere, in fact. But it certainly means that these producers are interested.

(What happens if this group doesn’t make the film(s)? In a couple of years I have the right option the book to someone else. In other words, options have time limits.)

Where are we now? Well, there’s no script, director, or actors lined up yet. So be patient and stop asking me about casting! If there are open auditions, you’ll see it here first.

So this phone call was mostly us getting to know each other and talking about what makes Uglies special to us. Most of the conversation was me talking, which was interesting. Sometimes Hollywood folks seem compelled to tell me all about my books. But these folks listened. And when I told them about , they were my previous post, dying to shoot over and read your comments. So keep them coming!

Here are some of the things I told them:

Most of you guys want unknown actors for Tally and Shay, but maybe someone famous for Dr. Cable. The producers get that, and they also understand how important casting is, given that you could break the whole theme of the film by putting the World’s Most Beautiful Actress in the starring role.

I also told them how important setting is to you guys. How the world-building, tech hoverboards, etc., have to be real. This movie should look good, and more importantly, it should look right. Excellently, it turns out that one of the producers has read Bogus to Bubbly. She also sends it along to the screenwriters they’ve been approaching. That is a Good Thing.

I told them you guys want a faithful adaptation, and they said definitely, because, as one of them put it, “The book is a movie already.” In other words, the story doesn’t have to get completely reshaped to fit the screen. (I doubt there will be any of this putting-all-three-books-into-one-movie crap.)

So what are the chances of the movie happening soon? Well, movies cost tens of millions of dollars, and nothing that requires that much money plus human creativity is ever easy to predict. But the producers did say that there’s lots of support for this project at their studio, where certain execs have been known to speak in bubble-talk. This seems like a very good sign to me.

Anyway, that’s everything I know. Watch this space for further developments. So you can stop asking me about casting calls. Seriously.

(Oh, and if you’re one of the producers reading this, don’t worry, I won’t blog every darn thing you say to me. It’s just that a lot of fans have been asking about this for a long time, and I figured it was time to give them a major update. Normally I am a master of discretion, and will only twitter what you say to me.)

To read his blog, click here

Love is Hell – Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz
January 1, 2009 posted by Nikki

Love is Hell – Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz

Short stories have never really been my cup of tea. Just when I’m getting attached to the characters, just when I’m immersing myself in the plot, everything gets wrapped up really quickly and then it’s all over. I like to spend time getting to know my characters, spend time losing myself in the story. Yet the thought of a book containing works from authors like Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Melissa Marr, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz was too good to pass on, and I felt like I just had to give Love is Hell a go.

The title says it all. Each story has some kind of supernatural, warped love story at its centre. Each writer brings something unique and different to the compilation, showcasing a whole variety of characters. Out of the five stories, two in particular – Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Stupid Perfect World’ and Melissa Marr’s ‘Love Struck’ – stood out for me.

Stupid Perfect World is set in the future. The humans take ‘vitamins’ which help alter the human body so things like excessive emotions are kept in check, sleep is not only unnecessary but also unheard of, and disease and illness are non-existent. In Scarcity class, Keiren has to choose a condition from the ‘olden days’ to experience and report on. Inspired by Hamlet and never having slept a day in his life, Keiren decides to give the whole sleeping thing a go. Maria, Keiran’s classmate decides to turn off her hormonal balancers so she can experience the full force of teen angst. Stupid Perfect World follows the pair as they progress through their projects. The ending – which I’m not going to divulge – has a healthy dose of the warm fuzzies and left me smiling like a goofy kid. I fell in love with Keiran instantly, and developed a soft spot for Maria just as quickly. More importantly, I got everything I wanted from this story and as Westerfeld brought the tale to a close, I found myself feeling completely satiated.

Melissa Marr’s ‘Love Struck’ is the tale of Alana, an average teenage girl who is forced into courting Murrin, a Selchie from the sea. On the way home from a party one night Alana steps on Murrin’s discarded skin, therefore binding her to him indefinitely. Murrin hadn’t intended for Alana to step in his skin; he wanted her to fall in love with him naturally, but of course, in matters of love, things never go as planned. Alana is angry that she has been lured into such a commitment and resents Murrin’s advances initially. But like all fey folk, Murrin’s allure is too seductive to ignore. Love Struck follows Alana’s journey as she falls in love with Murrin, both cosmically and naturally. Melissa Marr writes beautifully and I found myself going back to the beginning to read it again as soon as I finished. Like all of her fey characters, Murrin made my stomach flutter and my heart beat just a little faster. He’s sweet, sexy and everything a girl could possibly want in a boyfriend.

Love is Hell is an easy read. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that short stories can be just as great as lengthy novels – you just have to read the right ones, by good, talented authors!

Rating: : ★★★½☆

December 16, 2008 posted by Nikki

Fantasy Book of the Year

Libba Bray’s A Sweet Far Thing, Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps and Gregory Maguire’s Wicked have all been nominated for the Fantasy Book of the Year in Germany. To vote, click here

yaReads wishes them the best of luck!

November 28, 2008 posted by Nikki

Love is Hell

Scott Westerfeld fans might be interested to know that he has a short story in the anthology “Love is Hell”. Other authors with work in the anthology include Melissa Marr, Gabrielle Zevin, and Justine Larbalestier

Click here to read more: