Tag Archives: alan cumming

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (unabridged audiobook read by Alan Cumming; 10.5 hrs on 9 discs): This final installment of the Leviathan trilogy had me on the edge of my seat pretty much the entire time. If Deryn’s secret wasn’t on the verge of being discovered then Alek was in danger or the engines were smoking or some other calamity. This part of our story takes us from Siberia to Japan to the USA, introducing a number of memorable new characters and visiting old friends along the way. And Bovril the perspicacious loris was endlessly adorable. There were far more historical figures this time around, making Westerfeld’s “what actually happened” epilogue even more interesting. You know, I don’t really care for steampunk or alternate histories or books about war – fictional or otherwise – but I really, really loved this trilogy. I loved the characters, how you’re never quite sure who knows what or whom to trust. I loved the technology, the mix of science and fantasy involved in these genetically engineered critters. I loved the story, the adventures, the romance, the suspense. And the ending was quite satisfying, which is saying a lot considering how many loose ends were flapping about prior to it. Highly recommended.

A note on the audio: Cumming is a master of a wide variety of accents – American, German, Scottish, and numerous forms of English – but Russian, alas, is not one of them. It was a little painful listening to his Russian characters. But that’s a pretty small complaint, considering he remained simply fantastic for the rest of the book. It’s also worth noticing that since I was listening to this in my car, I did attempt to make up excuses to drive places.

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (unabridged audiobook read by Alan Cumming; 9.5 hrs on 8 discs): Deryn and Alek are in Istanbul, where they meet anarchists (who aren’t really), a perspicacious loris, and a nosy American reporter. I laughed aloud when Deryn and Alek were discussing Lilit, and there were several times when all I could think was, “How are they going to get out of this one, then?” I am thoroughly enjoying this series, which is interesting since I don’t generally consider myself to be a steampunk fan. I guess it helps that this is more alternate history and science fiction than a mere obsession with gear-and-goggle-based fashion. I can’t wait to see how the story ends.

A note on the audio: Cumming continues to dazzle. I’m almost certain that some American dude showed up, shoved Cumming out of the way just to say the American character’s lines, and then left. To my American ears, it was perhaps the best accent I’ve ever heard by a British narrator.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (unabridged audiobook read by Alan Cumming; 8.5 hrs on 7 discs): What we know as World War I is about to begin, but in this world the two factions are the Clankers and the Darwinists. The Clankers have huge mechanical contraptions, sort of a steampunk AT-AT. The Darwinist’s giant war machines are actually carefully designed animals created through grafting genes. Alek is the son of the recently assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, now on the run from his own allies; Deryn is a Scottish girl pretending to be a boy so she can join the military. It’s a fun story, but unquestionably part of a series – the ending leads into the next stage of the plot, leaving you wishing for just one more chapter. I’m so glad I’m reading it now, after the whole trilogy has been released, so I don’t have to wait. I also appreciated the “this is real and this is made up” afterword. Definitely recommended if you like steampunk or WWI alternate history.

A note on the audio: Alan Cumming is fantastic. No, seriously, amazing. To the point where I want to watch every movie he’s ever used an accent in ever.

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