Saturday 25 December 2010

Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout - almost

Dear Mr. Westerfeld,

Wherever you currently find yourself in the world, Happy Holidays. I hope you're enjoying time off with friends and family, as well as a liberal supply of festive bon-bons.

I want to thank you for making my December 25 almost perfect. After sleeping in late, making Brazilian French toast for brunch, and then taking a walk in the park with my hubby, I sat down with some double chocolate muffins, a warm blanky, a cat in a good mood, and your book, Leviathan.

I had a rollicking good time for several reasons: 1) I think you're a pretty gosh darn good writer. 2) This is a YA novel in which the two teen protagonists were made to say nothing dumb in that cliched teen sort of way which ultimately made The Knife of Never Letting Go and Ysabel, especially, so disappointing. 3) I think this book introduced me to steampunk in a more than theoretical way - and I think I am already in love with the steampunk.

Aside for people who are not Scott Westerfeld: Leviathan is set in Europe during the first World War, but with the difference that the central powers are what is known as Clankers - their warfare is based on highly developed machinery which mimics animal structures, i.e., their tanks are called walkers. The allies, on the other hand, are known as Darwinists - they have harnessed the kind of DNA-manipulation powers just being developed now and their war vehicles are all animals that have been spliced and mutated - so the great ship Leviathan is, in fact, mostly a whale that runs on helium gas. This info alone got me interested in reading this novel, and I'm happy to report that Westerfeld is very good at interweaving plot action and explication of the world he's created.

But, Scott, there's one important thing that kept my reading of Leviathan today from being entirely perfect: You have done the (for me) unforgivable and made the conclusion of the novel a cliff-hanger. Leviathan is not a complete novel at all, in fact; it is, rather, the first 440 pages of a novel I suspect will round out at approximately 1500 pages. I find this tactic incredibly lame. Dammit man, Leviathan is good enough that you didn't need to resort to this tired trick of daytime TV drama to get people to read your next book!

If your editor advised you to do this instead of making Leviathan a self-sustained entity, I would like to respectfully suggest that you punch him or her in the nose, fire him or her, and get someone with a little more faith in your ability to draw in readers for the next installment. If you did it of your own volition...well, maybe you should sit back and remember what it means to be a simple reader, and how fucking annoying the non-ending ending is. Also, I think steampunk fans would be more than happy for 1500 consecutive pages of really engaging steampunkiness.

That is all. I will read the next installments but know that I am irritated and disappointed. I really hope you will have remedied this problem by then.

All the best,


Hurka said...

If you'd like to convey your disapprobation in a meaningful way, you can borrow Behemoth from me.

Bookphilia said...