by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan, book two
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead. (description taken from Amazon.com)
Is it sad to admit that my favorite character in this book was the creature that (finally!) hatched out of the Lady Boffin's eggs? Bovril was absolutely charming and brought some levity to their harrowing situation.
As in Leviathan, I was very impressed with how well Westerfeld was able to incorporate historical detail into the storyline to bring it to life. This is not anything like a textbook and yet, I found myself remembering history classes...
Adventure, danger, and intrigue abound. The clanker machines are fascinating and in the Ottoman empire, surprisingly diverse! I love, love, love the illustrations in this book. You can really see what Westerfeld describes...and they are fantastic sites!
Other than Reeves' Larklight series, which is beyond cheeky, I think this is my favorite steampunk series.