My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Acting as the sequel to Leviathan, Behemoth tells the story of Deryn and Alek and their role in an alternative version of world history involving war, revolution and fantastical machines. Elements of their journey are joyous and the illustrations in this book are worth a star in themselves. The impact they add to the text is near unquantifiable.
I would say that you need to read Leviathan beforehand or at least be acquainted with the steampunk genre. There’s a lot of world here to comprehend and whilst that detail is entrancing once you’ve got used to it and understand the world, it can equally act against your initial comprehension of the book. Despite that there’s still a lot to comprehend in Westerfeld’s use of language; he’s able to elaborate in great detail where necessary and yet also dial it back.
Behemoth is a beguiling tapestry of a book. Full of richness and detail, it’s one that will reward repeated reading to pick up the finer points of an intricately crafted universe.