Author: Scott Westerfeld


  • Deryn (a.k.a Dylan)- girl who pretends to be boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.
  • Alek (Prince Aleksander)- an orphan prince whose parents were killed by poisoning and is on the run from the Germans.
  • Count Volger- Austrian sword master and a close friend of Alek
  • Klopp- another close friend of Alek
  • Newkirk- friend of Dylan
  • Dr. Barlow- Darwinist/ foriegn diplomat in possession of an unknown beasties' eggs and a pet Tasmanian tiger, Tazza.

Plot Summary

In the plot, prince Aleksander is whisked away thinking he is taking a mid-night joy ride on a Storm walker but soon realizes that he is an orphan and is on the run from the people who murdered his parents; the Germans. Meanwhile, Deryn is trying to fit in in the British Air Service. The hard thing is, she's a girl so the only logical choice is to pass herself off as a guy, Dylan. So "Dylan" gets his brother to help him get into the Air Service. While taking an ordinary test run on a Huxley, a storm blows through and Dylan ends up taking a six-hour ride several miles up in the air. Finally, to her relief, he is saved by the Leviathan. Dylan ends up staying several weeks to his delight. The only downside is pretending to shave every morning like a normal guy.
Back in Austria-Hungary, Alek is still running from the Germans. While trying to take care of buying food, he is found out by a newspaper boy who recognizes him immediately. He runs for it and his friends ( Count Volger, Klopp, and some others) manage to get some food and oil. Alek manages to somehow separate from the group and killing a young German soldier. Finally, the outlaws manage to make it to their safe house in Switzerland. The safe house is a run-down pile of rocks that once was a proud castle.
This is where Dylan and Alek meet. While in the air, the Leviathan was targeted by the Germans and crashed landed several miles away from the safe house. Alek, pushed by curiosity and kindness, tries to bring the fallen warship medicine but is intercepted by Dylan who lies unconcious under part of the gondolas underneath the warship. So as a precaution, Dylan, when he comes round, takes Alek prisoner which forces Count Volger to launch an attack against the warship. The two manage to stop it when Dylan holds Alek at knife-point.
After the scenario with the knife the crew of the Leviathan and the outlaws with Alek, decide to work together because they both have one common goal in mind: get away before the Germans come back. As they are patching up, the crew runs into an issue; the Leviathan can barely get off the ground with out the help of the Clanker's engines from the Stormwalker. Just as the crew is putting the engines on the massive airship, the Germans show up. They fight and manage to get away just in time. As they are heading over a mountain top, Alek and Deryn realize that the Leviathan is tilting to far to the left which means that it will hit the mountain and come crashing down. Alek does some quick thinking and runs into Count Volger's room. Count Volger still had his father's last remaining gift to him; the family's fortune in gold. Alek and Count Volger dump the gold out the window which helps lighten the the airship just in time.
As Alek and Deryn are walking back to the engine room they run into Dr. Barlow who is saying that they are sailing to Istanbul (Constantinople) and the eggs she brought on board are down to three.

Character Portraits


I think it was a really good book because the way the author portrayed the characters. Scott Westerfeld wrote the book quite interestingly; every two chapters he switched the point-of-view from Alek to Dylan and back again. I would recommend this book to any one who loves steampunk and action/advetnures. I am really excited because a movie is in progress for this book (due out in 2015) and Scott's other book series the Uglies.

Movie to be released soon!


Darwinists- society that is based off of Charles Darwin's principle; basically god-less scientists who detest actual machinery and use the "life-threads" of animals to create genetically engineered animals.
Clankers- society who uses actual machinery and pretty much hates the Darwinists.
Huxley- basically an air-propelled octopus/squid
beasties- genetically engineered animals that are used in place of actual machinery; hydrogen-breathers, flammable.
Leviathan- giant whale airship that is composed of other animals and ecosystems that help the whale function.
neutral territory- countries or territories that are tolerant of Clankers and Darwinists but are not either.