By now the regular know I love hot air balloons. It is a love that extends to all things flying ships. Anything that flies and isn't an airplane or spaceship is bound to catch my attention.
No surprise, then, if I say that promises of these things was enough to make me read Leviathan, by Scott Westerfield and Winds of Khalakovo.
I'm not sure why I took so long to read this. Leviathan is, by large, the most recommended steampunk book around the internet. Whenever the "steampunk recommendations" topic comes up, it's at the top of the list.
Flash news: It's there because it deserves to be.
I love this book. It picks up very fast, the two main characters are awesome, and the universe -- the universe! Of course the idea of Darwinists is going to appeal to the biochemist in me. I craved for descriptions of their work, and of the Leviathan's workings.
|Official Leviathan art by Keith Thompson|
A book that has a freaking huge whale flying through the sky because it is supported by a complex ecosystem of genetically-modified lifeforms is.. is... There is no word for how much this idea makes me happy. It just does. There's no resisting the Huxleys, either.
Besides the genius premise, Leviathan also has a tight plot, hilarious dialogues, characters to root for and it makes for an all-around awesome read.
The Winds of Khalakovo
|Click the cover! Go visit Beaulieu's site.|
I found Winds from what I believe is Margo's very first Cover Lust feature and immediately became jealous. I still am. With her recommendation about this writer and my immediate love for the four-masted airship, I could not resist buying this the moment I had my Kindle.
After reading Leviathan my craving for airborne adventure was great. I opened this book, ready to jump into an epic tale. I wasn't disappointed.
If you ever wondered where completely original fantasy epics had gone*, well, here's your answer. Winds is a refreshing story of great scale with an unique setting. It plays with a few familiar concepts (elementals, for example) but brings them about in a fresh and unexpected way, mixing russian influences in.
The plot is thick, fast-moving and full of unexpected turns. This book has high magic, political intrigues, racial tensions, arranged marriages, a love triangle (the best I've read about, ever) and much more. Including flying ships. I mentionned that was important, right?
So, please. Let yourselves be transported by the Winds of Khalakovo. You're in for a great ride (aand an expectant wait for the next tome!)