82 pages 2 hours read

Scott Westerfeld


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2009

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Important Quotes

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“It was always like this. To the servants he might be “the young archduke,” but nobles like Volger never let Alek forget his position. Thanks to his mother’s common blood, he wasn’t fit to inherit royal lands and titles. His father might be heir to fifty million souls, but Alek was heir to nothing.”

(Chapter 1, Page 6)

This quote introduces a major underlying conflict in Alek. From the start of the book, Alek struggles with his identity and role in the royal family of Austria-Hungary. He detests the way nobles treat him because of his mother’s common blood, highlighting a characteristic that changes throughout the story.

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“The worst thing was, if the boffins didn’t let her into the Service, she’d be spending tonight in that horrible rented room again, and headed back to Scotland by tomorrow. Her mother and the aunties were waiting there, certain that this mad scheme wouldn’t work, and ready to stuff Deryn back into skirts and corsets. No more dreams of flying, no more studying, no more swearing! And the last of her inheritance wasted on this trip to London.”

(Chapter 3, Page 17)

This quote introduces Deryn’s core desires and raises the stakes of the story, introducing tension. Here, Deryn is characterized as having traditionally masculine desires and hating the feminine way of life her mother and aunts wants her to emulate. This quote also shows the reader that Deryn is Scottish, which explains her characteristic phrases and dialect.

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“A few people—Monkey Luddites, they were called—were afraid of Darwinist beasties on principle. They thought that crossbreeding natural creatures was more blasphemy than science, even if fabs had been the backbone of the British Empire for the last fifty years.”

(Chapter 4, Page 21)

This quote provides important context for the fantasy world Westerfeld creates. This is the first time fabricated beasts are mentioned, and the way Deryn thinks about them demonstrates how “normal” they are in this world. This quote also shows how some members of society view the fabricated beasts, which becomes important when Alek first boards the Leviathan.