Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld‘s Steampunk/Biopunk take on World War I, was one of my favourite novels from last year. Not only did Westerfeld meld our real world history in with giant Mechs and floating whales-turned-zepplins, but it was also flush with gorgeous artwork from Keith Thompson, perfectly rendering Westerfeld’s vision of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, et al on the eve of World War I. On top of this, it had terrific cover art, which convinced me to buy the novel in the first place.

Leviathan by Scott WesterfeldLeviathan by Scott Westerfeld

So, it comes to reason that I was bloody excited about the cover to the sequel, Behemoth, which is set to come out later this year. Then, I stumbled across it on Stomping on Yeti, and a little piece of my soul died.

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Really? Really?!

All that amazing artwork… and we get a photograph of a seventh grader from Tuscon, Arizona? Is he dressed up for one of those Olde Tyme photobooths at a fair? And that slimy lightning? The bottom half of the cover, which falls in line with the previous release, is good… but, seriously, way to miss the mark of what made Leviathan so compelling to pick up off the shelf. At least Thompson is still on board to provide the artwork inside, it’s sure to be wonderful again.

  • Jonathan July 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Do you think that maybe sales of Leviathan struggled a bit so they went back to the old tried (tired) and true of slapping a person amidst all the “-punk” artwork (kind of like the hooded man on the front of 98% of fantasy covers in the last six months) to boost sales? I would think if Leviathan was a runaway best seller, the would be more inclined to have the artwork be more consistent with book one. Just a thought.

  • aidan July 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

    It’s a thought, certainly. That said, Westerfeld sells so many damn books, that even if Leviathan a disappointment for him would be a runaway success for nearly every other author.

  • neth July 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Yeah, i agree with you and Patrick. I loved the art for Leviathan and feel very underwhelmed by this art, which doesn’t even feel consistent. Yet another reminder that my tastes in cover art are apparently very different from the majority of the book-buying public.