Steampunk with an alternative history of WWI.What happens when an author takes a historical event like WWI and tweaks a few little details? Let’s just say he adds a few imaginative gadgets, contraptions, and “beasties.” What if the main characters are both orphans with secrets? Behemoth is the second book in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series. Set during WWI, the world is a little askew. The Allies (mostly the British) are known as the Darwinists. All of their weapons and machinery are organic life forms specially engineered for their cause. The Germans or the Clankers use mechanical contraptions sadly lacking wheels. The world building, continued from the first book, is rich and detailed. The contraptions and “beasties” are highly imaginative. The reader is treated to fantastically detailed illustrations that bring this world to life. However I did find the illustrations distracting as I spent a lot of times staring at the pictures, digesting every little detail. The story itself, while very good, lagged in the middle of the novel. Maybe I felt this way because I was too busy looking at the pictures, maybe not. I did find the battle scenes exciting. The sounds, the sense of urgency, the fear, I felt it all. The main characters were interesting. Deryn (referred to as Dylan for the rest of this review) is a young girl who masquerades as a boy to obtain a position as midshipman on board the Leviathan. Alek is an archduke and the rightful heir to the throne of Austria. He is in hiding with his entourage on board the Leviathan. Deryn/Dylan is attracted to Alek but seems happy to be his friend for the time being. Towards the end of the book, she realizes that she has feelings for him. She wants to tell Alek her secret, but chickens out. Alek and Dylan work well together and they have a great friendship.Every time that I read a Scott Westerfeld book I learn a bunch of new words along with a specialized vocabulary that is exclusive to that series. That is the mark of a gifted and perspicacious writer. Kudos.