Saturday, September 24, 2011

Such a Great Book!

Last week I started teaching a Creative Writing course to a group of middle school kids. It's pretty exciting for me because I haven't taught in years, and this class is all about writing! Plus kids have such great energy! As they learn, I want them to stay fired up about writing. I know I'll learn from this experience as well.

This week or next, I plan to touch on similes and metaphors. I had that in the back of my mind as I was doing my own pleasure reading last night. When I'm really focused on something in my own writing, reading helps me learn and process my thoughts, seeing how someone else tackled setting, dialogue, first pages--whatever I'm zeroed in on at the time. Well, last night I couldn't help notice some excellent examples of similes I can share with my students. The book I'm reading:
LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld.

LEVIATHAN (Simon Pulse, October 2009)

For those of you who don't know about it, LEVIATHAN is the first book in the Leviathan Series. The third book of the trilogy, GOLIATH, became available September 20th. My son read LEVIATHAN when it just came out, and it has been on my to-be-read list ever since. Oh, my gosh, bloggy friends! Why did I wait so long?
I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm flying through it. It's a total page-turner, and I recommend it.

Here's the blurb:

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their
Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksander Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way . . . taking them both aboard the
Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

I haven't read much steampunk, but it is so fun! Scott Westerfeld's super creative story and
Keith Thompson's unique illustrations are fabulous together. The characters in LEVIATHAN pulled me right into Westerfeld's richly detailed world. I can't wait to find out what will happen next! The book has loads of action, amazing creatures, and compelling characters. And did I mention the wonderful similes? :)

here to see the trailer.

Have you read LEVIATHAN or anything else by Scott Westerfeld? Do you like steampunk? Do you have any words of wisdom for teaching Creative Writing to middle schoolers?


Anita Saxena said...

I absolutely loved Leviathan and Bohemoth. Had no clue the third one just came out. I will be picking that one up ASAP.

Jess said...

I haven't read this yet, but I enjoyed the first UGLIES book by Westerfield. Steampunk sounds awesome, but I haven't read much of it~ this sounds like a great one to start with. Thanks for the recommendation!

Janet Johnson said...

I haven't read this yet, either, but it sure sounds like a fun one. Adding it to my TBR list. :)

Dawn Simon said...

Anita, it's so good, isn't it?

Jess, I kept meaning to pick up UGLIES as well. Now I really want to read it!

Janet, I hope you enjoy it! I bet you will! :)

Suma Subramaniam said...

Teaching children about writing is perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences Dawn. So happy for you. I will look up Leviathan. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy Thompson said...

I've heard of this book on Adam Heine's blog. I've never read it, or any other steampunk before. I'll have to check it out.

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, Suma! Yeah, I'm excited.

Nancy, I'm done with it now, and it was great!

Susan Fields said...

I'm definitely adding that to my TBR list - thanks for the recommendation! The author who really sticks out to me with fantastic similies and metaphors is Holly Black.

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't read Westerfeld yet, but I have The Uglies book set sitting on my desk. I believe I already have Leviathan on my wish list.

WritingNut said...

It sounds pretty awesome, but I haven't read anything by him as yet.

StephanieD said...

I devoured Leviathan but when I got to the end I just flipped! Lead up, lead up...then what do you mean I have to wait a whole 'nother year to find out what happens next?

Robert Guthrie said...

Cool trailer. Any ideas what the best non-adventure ones are?

Dawn Simon said...

Susan, I loved it! Now I want to read the second book! Thanks for the suggestion.

Medeia, I really like it when you talk about what you've been reading at your blog. It will be fun to read your opinions!

WritingNut, this was my first Scott Westerfeld book.

Stephanie, I guess I'm lucky, discovering it late. :)

Robert, do you mean the best non-adventure Scott Westerfeld books? This was the first of his books that I've read, but you can check out his website. (I linked to it in the post!)

Thanks for the comments! :)