In Leviathan the story took place in Britain, Austria, Switzerland and for a majority of the time in the air but in Behemoth now that Alek and Deryn have met they continue on their journey on the Leviathan to the Ottomon Empire where Dr. Barlow's secret mission is finally revealed. Things never run smoothly when you're in the middle of a war however and before the two can set their eyes on their destination it's revealed that Britain is officially at war with Austria, pushing everyone to make difficult decisions.
I have never read a book that was set in Istanbul, all of the historical fiction I've read has been set in Britain or America and all of the steampunk I've heard about seems to be set in Europe but Istanbul was a refreshing change of scenery and it was enjoyable to read about the hodgepodge of cultures living in this cosmopolitan. Behemoth is an altered history of course but from the author's afterword where he talks about what was true and what was changed I believe he remained quite true to the culture and feel of this country.
The setting isn't of course what had me excited to read Behemoth, now that we've already been introduced to the world of Scott Westerfeld's Darwinist versus Clanker war we are delving further into the plot and after the events in Leviathan I was ready to see what else was going to happen to our brave protagonists. Deryn, the girl disguised as a boy in the Royal Air Service who continues to shine in dire situations, still hasn't told anyone her secret despite almost telling Alek in the previous book and this deceit wasn't a problem before until Alek started trusting Deryn with secrets of his own and now the guilt is getting to her.
Alek, the Austiran prince on the run who continues to grow humble and independent, still has the German army looking for him. And even if they can't find him, now that Britain is at war with Austria he and his crew aren't too far away from becoming prisoners of war even if everyone on board the Leviathan aren't treating them differently (yet).
Just like Leviathan there were no dull moments to be found in Behemoth and I chewed through this book in about half the time it took me to get through its predecessor (even though its longer). There were new beasties, clanker creations, dynamic characters, and a revolution. And of course there were the two main characters barreling down their own paths that at many times flowed together and other times (to my detriment) drifted apart. If Leviathan made me a fan, Behemoth made me obsessive and I desperately need the next book.show more