I'm in the midst of judging for RWA's RITA contest, so I wasn't able to read any YA in January. I knew that would likely happen, so I read extra in December. This month, I'd like to talk about two connected books, Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. I first read Westerfeld's work when I read his Midnighters series, which I really enjoyed. I've also read Uglies, the first in that series of YA novels. Leviathan and Behemoth are the first two in another series, this time steampunk.
In this alternate history world, nations fall into one of two categories -- Clankers (those who use machines for war) and Darwinists (those who use fabricated living beasts). Prince Aleksander is the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire (Clankers), but he's on the run from those who murdered his parents. In his travels with a few trusted men loyal to his father, circumstances force him to take refuge on board the massive fabricated airship, the Leviathan. It's here that he meets Deryn Sharp, a girl who disguised herself as a boy named Devyn so she could join the British Air Service. Not only is Deryn a talented airman, but she's pretty good at keeping her true identity hidden from her superiors too. And from Alek, which becomes more problematic as time passes. Despite both having dangerous secrets, the two build a friendship that is wary at first. After all, Clankers and Darwinists don't understand why the other lives the way they do. Gradually, they start to realize that neither way of life is all good or all bad as they run from those out to harm them.
In addition to engaging stories and characters, readers get a bonus look at the world Westerfeld has created through the drawings of scenes and characters by artist Keith Thompson. Since the book is set as World War I is breaking out across Europe, the drawings are made to look like books did in 1914 when lots of books were illustrated.
The third book in the series, Goliath, is due out in October.
Visit Scott Westerfeld's site here.
Lionsgate has announced that it will be releasing the movie version of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games on March 23, 2012. Woot! Filming will take place in late spring or summer of this year, though no cast has yet been announced. I know lots of people are eagerly awaiting that casting news.
Only eight more days until I Am Number Four hits theaters. I had hoped to read the book before going to see the movie, but that likely won't happen. I do plan to use a trip to the movie as a reward for when I finish my book this month.
And mark your calendars for March 4. That's when Beastly, based on the novel by Alex Flinn, opens. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. See the trailer and other movie info at the official site.