Two weeks ago we left for a family vacation in norther Pennsylvania. Our idyllic setting featured a private lake complete with kayaks, paddle boards, and row boats perfect for early-morning fishing jaunts. The drives takes us about two-and-a-half hours, and since 50% of our family gets car sick, we typically try and find a book to listen to (with eyes closed) during the trip.
This year, my kids grabbed the book Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld for our travels. A title (and author!) previously unknown to me, I popped disc one into the player and focused on the drive. (I do ALL the driving when we travel as I make up one half of the 50% of our family who get car sick.)
Let me fast-forward to this weekend, where we all finished listening to the last book in the trilogy, Goliath. Love, loved, love it. And here's why.
Westerfeld sets his series during World War I, but he takes a decidedly unique spin on the traditional retelling of the events of this era. Interwoven among actual historical facts are fanciful creatures who serve as aeronautic vehicles. The worlds of the Clankers and the Darwinists clash illustrating the divisions between industrial-minded and naturalistic individuals.
And then there are the characters.
Rich and colorful, Prince Aleksander and Dylan (or Deryn) Sharp match wits and skills, eventually forming a close bond of friendship (and that's all I'll say about that.) Thrust together by chance, the characters carve out their own destinies in the midst of international tensions, harrowing events, and tense relationships.
As a family, we loved listening to the series. Fortunately, we live a block from our library, so as soon as the last disc ended, we hustled our little tushies down there to pick up the next one. Both of my kids - a son and a daughter - enjoyed the story; there is something for everyone in this historical tale with a futuristic spin.
Oh my gosh, and one of the best parts of listening to this amazing story? Alan Cummings narrated it! How can you not love hearing an Irish lilt navigate a variety of characters in an action-packed story?
I highly recommend adding this book or its audiobook counterpart to your summer reading (listening) list. If you need more convincing, check out the first book's trailer here.