Audiobook Review: Leviathan

Audiobook Review: LeviathanLeviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Narrator: Alan Cumming
Length: 8 hrs, 20 mins
Series: Leviathan #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on October 6, 2009
Genres: Adventure, Alternate History, Historical, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. TheLeviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl 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 the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected wayÉtaking them both aboard the Leviathanon a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Normally, I steer clear of audiobooks, considering them just a step above not reading at all. For the most part, I think of them as cheating; listening to a book just isn’t the same as reading one. I put aside my admittedly unfair assumptions for the Leviathan audiobook when I heard that Alan Cumming narrated it. Alan Cumming is one of the most delightful actors in my opinion and I could just not resist. I listened to the book on my drive up to my alma mater for a friend’s wedding.

First, I cannot stress enough the love I have for Alan Cumming. He is an entirely spectacular narrator, as I expected he would be. He does the voices (with accents!) for the characters. As in the second X-Men movie, he does a great German accent and he is, of course, British, so he can do that too. His female voices are a bit lacking, but there are only two in the whole book and one is pretending to be a boy. Besides, no one’s perfect. And his attempts at sounding female are pretty hilarious. His pacing is great and he conveys emotions perfectly.

Now, for the story itself, I can say that I enjoyed Leviathan far more than I did the other Westerfeld books I have read (the Uglies trilogy). His language either annoyed me less in audiobook format or was kept under wraps by the historical setting. The book was incredibly fun. Westerfeld did really interesting things in his reimagining of the war, changing some background seriously, but still causing everything to happen much the way it did. The Darwinist versus Clanker version of World War I makes me laugh and is, in its framework, easy to believe. Those alliance make more sense than the real version. I also found the idea that Darwin’s discoveries led to so much scientific development totally awesome.

I flipped through the book itself and am sad to have missed out on the neat artwork. Still worth it for Alan Cumming though. Check this book out! It’s totally worth either a read or a listen. The sequel, Behemoth, just came out.

5 responses to “Audiobook Review: Leviathan”

  1. Heidi says:

    I feel the same way you do about audio books. I have always had a hard time with them. I gave in when it came to the Harry Potter books after I heard they were so amazing on CD. I wasn’t disappointed, but I have yet to try another type of audio book. Maybe I’ll give this one a whirl…I like Alan Cumming as well.

  2. Christina says:

    Please do. Alan Cumming is just the best. He has convinced me to try select audiobooks: those with fantabulous narrators.

  3. I don’t know if I could listen to an audibook, I feel sort of the same way as you. I always just feel like if an audiobook is 2+ hours, I could probably just read the book in that time. And since I’ve yet to go on any long distance drives, I’ve no real need.

    I really want to read this, and I was actually going to buy it the other day but it lost out to Blood Red Road. It’ll probably be the next book I buy though, since I was already so close before! 😉

    • Christina says:

      They’re totally great to read, too. I read, rather than listened to, the other two books in the series. With reading, you can admire the illustrations.

      I agree that audiobooks take forever. It’s a lot faster to just read the book. It was nice for a road trip, though!

  4. Bea Tejano says:

    I always fall asleep when I try to listen to audiobooks LOL I got this as a prize from a giveaway and I’m excited to read it! I absolutely adored his Uglies series so I’m looking forward to this:)

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