Aristocrat’s Ransom: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

July 18, 2015 Review 30 ★★★★

Aristocrat’s Ransom: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Purchased
Pages: 440
Release Date: October 6th, 2009
Series: Leviathan #1
Genres: Alternate History, Historical, Steampunk, Young Adult
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.

Every now and then I don’t feel like writing a normal review. I want to express my thoughts in a light and fun way with plenty of gifs. Lo and behold the ransom review was born. These were originally for my pirate themed review blog but came over with me when I joined Readers in Wonderland. They now pop up every now and then when I’m bored/too lazy to write my usual reviews.

Want to know what all the headings mean? This post might be helpful.

bec (2)

Major Selling Points

Steampunk Alternate History


WWI alternate history in particular. Need I say more.

Hidden Identity


Both main characters have to keep their true idenitty hidden, which adds to the conflicts of the plot. Deryn pretends to be Dylan so she can fight in the British army (she’s also underage). Alek is trying not to be recognised as the son of the Prince. One of them does a much more convincing job than the other, which isn’t all that surprising.



When I last “read” this book back in high school I basically flicked through and looked at the pictures (which are awesome btw). I don’t know why I couldn’t get into it then because this time round I could barely put it down. Plot starts moving in the first chapter and continues steadily throughout. I think my main frustration was that the main characters didn’t start interacting until halfway. There aren’t many “OMG DID NOT SEE” twists but plenty of action and exciting events to keep me entertained.


can't complain

LEVIATHAN is told in (more or less) alternating third person chapters between Alek and Deryn’s scenes, whose storylines entwine around half way through. The writing didn’t stand out as amazing to me, mostly it just felt like typical historical writing which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the Clanker and Darwanist lingo took a bit of getting used to, then there was Deryn’s special own kind of slang. Which just made me realise there was a slight different between the way Deryn and Alek’s scenes were written to reflect their different upbringings.




FAVOURITE CHARACTER ALERT! I loved Deryn. She’s not only highly entertaining and hilarious, but an extremely dedicated and hard worker. Cannot wait to see how she grows and develops over the series. Hopefully she keeps beating the boys at their game.


poor boy

Poor Alek has had it a bit rough. Losing all his family and everything. I admire the fact that he can keep pushing on, showing compassion and everything. He’s showing the signs of being a great leader and I hope he keeps developing that way. Also I hope some good things happen to him soon. Boy deserves some happiness.

Dr. Nora

like you

This lady is bloody awesome! A woman and one of the leading Darwinists of the time. She’s very very smart, observant, and cunning.



There is no romance… yet. You can bet I ship Alek and Deryn hard though. I hope there’s development within the next too books. It will be so interesting, especially with the whole Deryn-pretending-to-be-Dylan element. The romance and tension is 90% of the reason I love the girl disguised as boy trope haha. As long as it doesn’t take over the character’s lives and motivations I will be happy.


  • the Leviathan (haaaaaaaaaaaa)
  • Alek x Deryn
  • Deryn x beasties
  • Alek x a quiet, easy life
Rating Report
Overall: 4.1

30 Responses to “Aristocrat’s Ransom: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld”

  1. Nara

    haha you always choose such great gifs for these reviews.
    I think I read this book a couple of years ago, and perhaps it’s time for a reread! I’m pretty sure I gave the book 3 stars, but reading your review, it seems like it deserves more :P
    Nara recently posted…Coffee Book Tag

    • Bec

      I am the gif master :P

      Yeah it was a 3-4 star read. There were so many fun little elements I liked.

    • Bec

      I didn’t know there was a companion book! That would be so cool to read.

      That is a strange coincidence, but cool that you read it at the same time!

  2. Alise

    “Ships: the Leviathan (haaaaaaaaaaaa)” Wow, Bec, wow. You couldn’t resist. I’m glad you liked this series, I also really enjoyed it when I didn’t expect to. Sadly, I can’t remember too much detail anymore but you MAY get what you wish for ;)

  3. Kelly

    I think this is the first review I’ve read for this one, despite it popping up regularly in my Goodreads recommendations. I love a bit of steampunk every now and then and this sounds pretty good. I enjoyed his Uglies series to an extent, but really didn’t like Afterworlds sadly, so hoping I have more luck with this one. Wonderful review Bec, looking forward to grabbing a copy <3
    Kelly recently posted…Paperweight By Meg Haston

    • Bec

      It’s a pretty underrated book! I don’t think I’ve ever read a proper review for it but it does pop up everywhere.

      I own a copy of Uglies but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Really hope I at least like it.

    • Bec

      Thanks! I’ll let you know if romance develops later in the series (although the series is complete if you want to have a read to find out for yourself ;) )

    • Bec

      It has gorgeous illustrations! Slow burn romances are the best. Hope you get the chance to read it :)

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Ahhh! I LOVE your Ransom posts Bec :D

    I’ve owned a copy of this book for years. YEARS. And I’ve yet to read it. I bought it because I just knew I’d love it and now it’s sitting on my shelf, collecting dust. So THANK YOU for reviewing it to remind me that I need to GET ON IT ALREADY! It (still) sounds like a blast and I need to know what I’m missing!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter Month (6)

    • Bec

      They’re so fun to right! I really should try and do some more. It’s a really good steampunk! And more modern than most of the steampunk I have read, interestingly.

    • Bec

      Thanks! Glad I could introduce you to it then. I love all the technology in steampunk. It’s so cool.

  5. Romi

    Ahhahah, you put so many wonderful gifs in this review, Bec, and they really suited your feelings in each topic so beautifully (and amusingly!). The beauty of gifs, huh?
    I know barely anything about this book, although I’ve seen it around and about for a while- it sounds like it’s got some really interesting characters, especially Deryn and Dr. Nora. They sound like some epic females right there! I haven’t read many “hiding identity” books for a while, and in total the level is probably pretty low- the romantic tension is so good, though! xx
    Romi recently posted…From me to you and back again -4-

    • Bec

      Gifs are great haha!

      It is a pretty underrated book. More people need to read it! There’s many great characters inside.

    • Bec

      It’s so much fun! I hope it gets even more epic with the next instalments. Hope you enjoy it :D Hope you get your hands on it soon!

  6. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    I am, like, 99% sure I have a copy of this book because one time when I went to a friend’s place they had two copies, and hadn’t bought me a birthday present, so I told them to give me one of the copies because I wanted to read it XD That was about 5 years ago, and I still haven’t read this book.

    I SHOULD, THOUGH! I love steampunk, and I am quite a fan of the girl pretending to be a guy trope but it does have me side-eyeing when it comes to the romances that come afterwards.

    Anyway, I should probably read this, especially since you pointed out so many good things in this review!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…The Cinderella Book Tag!

    • Bec

      Get on it, Chiara!! There’s not too much romance yet, but I have hopes it’s going to be slow burn and a good one later.

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