Steampunk, the Middle Book

Alek is probably the worst person in this series when it comes to keeping secrets.  He can’t keep people from figuring out who his father was – if he doesn’t tell them himself – he can’t hide out until the war ends, and he seems to jump feet first into absolutely everything.  And this is before the whole world finds out who he really is.

Deryn, on the other hand, may seem to be almost as guileless, but then there’s the fact that she has yet to give herself away as a crossdressing girl.  So far only a couple people have guessed, but she hasn’t been forced to reveal herself.  And then there’s the amount of time she and Alek have spent together…

There’s a girl in this particular book named Lilit, who lives in Istanbul, where most of Behemoth takes place.  She makes a bit of a love triangle for a bit, and it’s fairly well done.  Since we can assume that the kids are in their low teens, the awkwardness can be brushed off on kids being just plain awkward at that age.  However, given how that triangle ends up, I do have to wonder if Westerfield is hinting at a slightly different orientation for her…

Behemoth is a middle book and it does show a bit.  The location changes to the Ottoman Empire, as I’ve said.  The Ottomans seem to be coming down on the Clanker side of the conflict, but they haven’t utterly forsaken organic life, choosing to fabricate their machines into recreations of animals.  The Central Powers such as Germany may choose to incorporate animalistic features into their machines, but none of them are actual representations.

I do want to tell you that I thought long and hard before creating a new “steampunk” category for this blog.  I don’t read a lot of steampunk.  Probably because I am not great with Victorian literature, and that’s the time period a lot of steampunk falls into.  I even asked some friends for opinions on where I should put these books – science fiction or fantasy?  One friend said fantasy, that alchemy or magic is usually involved somehow, and the technology is often run off of the idea or belief in magic.  The other friend said science fiction, which the Leviathan trilogy is very strong in, especially with the Darwinist creatures being genetically engineered.

I was torn because I do feel that Scott Westerfield’s books belong with science fiction on the basis of how they create and use their technology.  But many other steampunk stories I’ve read do feel more like fantasy.  I supposed I could have classified Leviathan as historical fiction…except it’s far more historical fantasy.  At which point I said “screw it” because this was getting ridiculously complicated and made the steampunk category.

I don’t really have much more to say tonight.  I’ll be starting on Goliath shortly and will either finish that tomorrow or Thursday.

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