After helping to overthrow the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the airship Leviathan continues eastward, now bearing the rather important Prince Aleksander of Austria-Hungary, son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This is the first indication of reporters being evil.
Seriously, that is kind of the underlying theme of Goliath. Reporters are just piranhas in human form. They keep nibbling away at you until they’ve completely devoured every secret you possess. And any secrets that do slip out are fair game for the papers unless if you can bribe them with a better one.
Also media moguls are always out to make a quick buck. And will happily turn anything and everything into fresh fodder for the mewling masses.
As you may have guessed, the Leviathan goes so far east that it ends up in the United States. By that time it’s also picked up the famed Clanker inventor, Nikola Tesla from the Siberian wilderness where he had been stranded. He’s…well…I see him as what Alek could potentially become, if he lived a life without any true friends. Tesla has created the Goliath, a weapon that he claims can strike just about anywhere on the planet from its New York location. With this threat in his hand, he is seeking to restore the world’s peace.
But seriously, reporters are just plain evil. They poke around everywhere they aren’t specifically banned, they risk their lives to get pictures, and they’re rather intelligent, and able to put together disaparate pieces of information into a cohesive whole. Also people think they’re harmless and so tend not to lock them up.
I think it’s the reporters that I hate most in this book. The rest of Goliath is fine. Maybe not as mature as other books, but still a good read and suitable for middle schoolers and up. The illustrations, by Keith Thompson, are fantastic, and really help readers to envision the strange and bizarre creations of Westerfield’s technology. As always, I could wish a number of them were in color to better appreciate them, but greyscale does wonders regardless.
Nikola Tesla may not be one of the main characters of the trilogy, but he is a key character in the book. And though I do still have books in my Pile, I’m thinking that maybe the next set I read will be the one in which a Tesla continues to be of import…