Saturday, December 17, 2011


By Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Steampunk/science fiction/adventure
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

We finish the Leviathan trilogy in this book, so everything has to come out.  Alek and Deryn are back aboard the Leviathan after their successful aid in the revolution in the Ottoman Empire.  Now, flying over Russia, the Leviathan rescues the one and only Nikola Tesla and his crew.  Tesla claims to created a weapon called Goliath that is so powerful, it will be able to end the entire war.  Alek can't help but be drawn in by this idea--if Tesla truly has a weapon with such power and if Alek helps him, then perhaps he really CAN end this horrible world war.  Deryn has her doubts, but even worse, she is finally pushed into a corner when Alek figures out that his best friend is not only a girl, but a girl with feelings for him.  But how can a peasant hope to love a crown prince?  While Deryn hides her secret for as long as she can from the rest of the world, the Leviathan travels across the world to the United States and to Tesla's great weapon.  But can there possibly be a happy ending with so much at stake?  Readers will be eager to see how the story turns out and no one will be disappointed.  A fabulous trilogy.

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fantasy (sort of--very realistic)
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

We begin on the island of Thisby which is unique in that it has the capall uisce--a predatory horse that can live on both land and in the ocean.  These horses are captured each year from the sea to compete in the Scorpio Races down the beach, where the call of the ocean and the wild nature of the horses causes both horses and men to regularly die.  Sean Kendrick's own father died in the races, but no one loves the capall uisce as much as he or has won as many races, especially when he rides the red stallion, Corr.  Sean keeps to himself, yearning only to earn enough money to own Corr outright from his employer, Benjamin Malvern.  But Sean's solitude is broken by Puck, the first girl who tries to ride in the races on her own mare, Dove.  Puck is driven to try and win the race to save the family house and farm, as it is left in danger since her parents were killed in a boating accident.  When Puck and Sean meet, both are attracted to one another.  But both of them also need to win the race if they are to get what they need.   There can be only one winner in the most dangerous horse race...who will survive?  Well-written, the story is told in alternating turns by both Puck and Sean, and you can almost feel the gritty sand, can feel the power and danger of the horses, and can visualize the island folk.  A little bit scary, a little bit intense, but all wonderful, wonderful.