Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, read by Alan Cumming. Grades 7+. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2010. 9 hours and 27 minutes. Review copy provided by publisher.
Okay, you all read Leviathan, yes? (If you didn't, I must insist that you get it and read or listen to it as soon as possible. It is fabulous.)
Behemoth continues the story of Alek, secret heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and Deryn, midshipman aboard the Darwinist airship Leviathan (really a girl, but disguised as a boy). As World War I is building, Leviathan steams ahead to the Ottoman Empire in an attempt to foster peace, but nothing goes as planned. Secrets will be revealed, alliances made and betrayed, in this second book in the Leviathan trilogy.
You guys, this audiobook is barkin' fantastic.
I'd love the book anyway - Scott Westerfeld continues his superb world-building and character development in this book - but hearing Alan Cumming's narration of the story is a wonderful experience.
All the things I loved about his recording of Leviathan are continued in this recording. He's a master of voices and accents and accented voices. What I mean to say is that all his German voices are different, all his British voices are different, even when the accent is the same. I was amused by the lone American in the book, with his John Wayne-esque voice, but hey, it worked.
Not only is this a story that you can easily lose yourself in, this is a recording that you can easily lose yourself in.
I will say one word of warning: if you tend to listen to audiobooks in the car while driving (exhibit A: me), you might want to read the print book first and then give the story a listen. The political events and world building make for a very rich storyline and you won't want to miss any of the details as you're driving (like I'm sure I did). To me, the story was definitely engaging enough to warrant a re-read (or re-listen, if you will). And you'll want to make sure you've read Leviathan first.
Behemoth is on shelves now (both in book and audiobook form)!
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