I loved Scott Westerfeld's trilogy that began with Leviathan, continued with Behemoth, and just ended with Goliath. The steam punk combination of World War I, Darwinists and Clankers with teen protagonists is brilliant. The artwork by Keith Thompson adds to the charm. As much as I love description, I also appreciate an artist's rendering. The illustrations were illustrative (ha ha) without being obtrusive. All the better if the author approves the vision of his story presented by the artwork. And as much as I dislike when movie studios get ahold of great books and ruin them, I think this trilogy would make fantastic, special effects laden films. Just as the books are multi-generational, so too would be the movies.
So enough blathering. The trilogy ended satisfyingly, for me anyway. With the war heating up, this book was bound to be exciting as the Leviathan travels the world on what are essentially diplomatic missions that somehow always involve excitement for Dylan and Alek.
The creatures Westerfeld has created are fascinating in their talents and uses. I find the Darwinists much more interesting than the Clankers. When the ship gets to the US, the separation of the Clanker North and the Darwinist South is an interesting commentary. It is certainly believeable the North would be Clanker with its industry being a key reason they won the Civil War. However, the Darwinist South is based on the agrarian tradition of the South, but I am not so sure the religious traditions of the South would realistically allow for the genetic manipulation of creatures by humans. This is a tiny little part of the story, but one I find intriguing.
Dylan/Deryn continues to be an admirable character. Alek grows into a man in this novel. Despite the time arc of the three books being only a few months, both of these young people change quite a bit. Their sense of honor and the behaviors it inspires are realistic and I believe relevent to current generations of young people who cannot understand the patriotism of World Wars I and II, not the glory of these wars, but the way that nations came together to support what they believed was right. Alek's struggles as a monarch in that world are significant and mold him right before the reader's eyes.
This really is a wonderful series that does not drag on, but knows when to exit gracefully after a barking good adventure.