Thursday, June 21, 2012

YA Book Review: Goliath

Goliath (Leviathan, #3)Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While my review for the second novel in the Leviathan Trilogy was brief, I would like to take this space to summarize my thoughts on the trilogy over--as each novel strikes me as so similar that reviewing each individually would be like taking one novel (such as Cather in the Rye), dividing it into thirds and reviewing each section. The act becomes tedious, and unfair to what is a pretty good book in and of itself when you leave reviewing and blogging and "what did you think" out of the way.

Actually...what a pretty damning exercise in handing our students study guides to answer chapter questions as they read a novel.

My point--the Leviathan Trilogy feels like one Herculean book chopped into thirds to warrant the twenty dollar price tag per book. However, I was missing the engagement I felt in a trilogy such as the Lord of the Rings. Maybe my lukewarm applause comes from protagonist Alek and his Rosalind-esque mate, Deryn, only drifting from one part of the world to another more than engage in a definitive quest. There is no Mordor...even though those nasty Germans threaten to wreak havoc on the earth.

Actually the most interesting piece of all 1500 pages of the trilogy concerns the friendship between Alek and Deryn. More than the bombs, beasts, war machines, and cameos by Pancho Villa, Nikolai Tesla, et al...the trilogy works because it is about friendship and loyalty. The early stages of World War I is only a canvas...or a sneaky way to get a boy to read a book about relationships.

More of an indication of my age than anything else, I have to add that I struggled to finish the trilogy. But I did finish. Full disclosure will also reveal that I am that guy who read the first Harry Potter book and when I picked up the second I'd had enough after the first few pages. The freshness was gone for me...I needed more and read other things.
Remember all of those lines (queues) outside of bookstores?  Fans dressed in character waiting for the next Harry Potter book...that wasn't me.

All of this brings to light that sometimes YA novels do attract adult readers. I just can't imagine many adults reading this trilogy for any other reason than their kids and their classroom.

That said, The Leviathan trilogy will definitely be on my classroom library shelf because kids will like it. And kids are clearly the audience.

(Jeez, rereading what I read sounds so vile. I don't mean to bash and if it comes across that way I apologize to Westerfeld.) I'm such a Muggle.

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