Young Austrian prince Aleksandar is a Clanker, one of those who rely on manmade war machines made of steel and driven by petrol. Daryn is a member of the Dawinists, who genetically engineer animals to do their bidding, combining DNA to make beasties well suited to whatever task they choose.
Alex’s ruling parents are assassinated in the first pages of the book, and this is the spark that ignites the war. Two of Alek’s instructors whisk him away from his castle before the sheltered boy even understands the dire situation he is in. He’s led to believe they’re just off on exciting midnight maneuvers, and he gets to practice driving the incredible two-legged war vehicle called a Cyklop Stormwalker.
But after they have traveled through field and forest, over mountain and valley, when they begin to get shot at, Alek catches on that he may not be going back home for a very long time. Maybe never.
Deryn is a Scottish girl who wants to pilot an airbeast, but girls aren’t allowed to join the military. So she studies hard, takes in one of her brother’s old uniforms and disguises herself as a boy to join the recruits. As luck would have it, she is accepted to fly on the Leviathan, a cross between a whale and a hot air balloon.
In the midst of battle Alex and Deryn meet, and the enemies must become allies to save their comrades and themselves.
Leviathan mixes politics and battle strategy, with technology and fantasy. Rated for grades 7 and up, it’s thought provoking and entertaining.