Literature: Leviathan

"Choose your weapon: Clanker or Beastie"

Leviathan is the first book in a series by Scott Westerfeld that takes place in an alternate version of World War I Europe. Some of the differences are that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated in the evening, as opposed to the afternoon, they have only one son... Oh, and Germans and Austrians use giant Walkers to fight the British and French Fabricated Animals. Obviously, he took liberties with history.

In this version of history, when Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, he also discovered the 'threads of life', or DNA - and, more importantly, how to manipulate them and construct new creatures. Fast forward 50 years, and you find London crawling with fabricated elephants and giant oxen instead of cars, and gecko/parrot hybrids are used to send messages.

The book follows two characters - the Archduke's son, Prince Aleksandr, who is whisked off on the night of his parents' assassination to a secret hideaway in the Alps before his enemies can assassinate him. The second character is a girl, Deryn Sharp, who poses as a boy in order to join the British Air Service and eventually finds herself aboard the Leviathan, a massive Flying Whale Airship that is bound for the Ottoman Empire with one Dr. Nora Barlow, a Boffinnote  and her very secretive cargo. As a war between the fabricated Animal using "Darwinists" (not like that) and Walker-using "Clankers" looms, Alek soon finds himself aboard the Leviathan as his enemies close in.

A second book, Behemoth, was released October 5, 2010. The last book in the trilogy, Goliath, was released on September 20th, 2011. Westerfeld also wrote a bonus "fanfiction" chapter on his blog and commissioned a new piece of art for Christmas 2011.

Not to be confused with Leviathan, the third novel in the Illuminatus! trilogy, nor the magnum opus of Thomas Hobbes.

Provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: When it comes to Stormwalkers. Master Otto Klopp, who is, according to Alek, "the best master of mechaniks in Austria". And Alek's quite the pilot, too - he's mastered night-walking.
  • Action Girl: Deryn and Lilit.
  • Almighty Janitor: Adela Rogers' view of Deryn.
  • Alternate History: Armored vehicles pre-1916, the Archduke having only one child, the Archduke being assassinated at night, Darwin discovering genetics and DNA, etc.
    • The ending of the series distances it even further from our timeline: the War ends on fairly amiable and equal terms instead of a Treaty of Versailles analogue (although the US still ends up joining the Darwinists). The Russian Revolution never happens, Austria-Hungary seems to have all but usurped Germany as head of the Clanker nations, Britannia still rules the waves and the odds of a parallel World War 2 happening are pretty slim. Although the Ottomans are mentioned as having undergone a revolt and there remains concern with the Japanese.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The nature of Tesla's Goliath device, which the entire plot of the third book revolves around, is never revealed. It is implied to be an extremely powerful magnetic device weaponizing comets and meteors, but the characters refuse to cede that much credit to Tesla. Likewise, most characters instead believe Tesla was insane and his Goliath device completely bunk. The fact of the matter is that The Tunguska Event happened right after Tesla tested the device and that the sky over England changed colors when he tested it again later. No hard evidence is put forth regarding whether those were atmospheric coincidences that Tesla shamelessly took credit for in his madness, or legitimate results of his experimentation. Because Tesla was killed and his device destroyed, those answers are forever lost In-Universe.
  • April Fools' Day: On April 1st, Scott Westerfeld "revealed" a piece of art from ''Goliath'' featuring Lilit and Deryn getting married, with Alek crashing through the wall on a giant mech. The art was part of a gag with the book's illustrator.
  • Artistic License – Physics: This is a given, but the series is curiously un-evenhanded about it. For some reason, whether you prefer steampunk (villainous) or biopunk (heroic) tends to arbitrarily determine how far along the morality scale you are. The machines used by the villainous Central Powers hew close to real-world physics and hydraulics, and are unwieldy and inefficient because of it. However, the Allies are able to use super-obedient, super-genetically enhanced monstrosities, who move with a grace and cleanliness and are presented without irony as superior to mechanics in every way.
    • The biggest discrepancy is that living creatures should be ridiculously fuel-inefficient, far more so than diesel powered engines. Nevertheless, the Allies' biggest advantage is the quantity and diversity of fabricated creatures they can draw on, while the Central Powers' wear-and-tear and reliance on fuel is repeatedly pointed out and exploited.
    • The upkeep required of large numbers of military-standard living animals would also be a logistical nightmare, but the fabricated creatures just keep recycling their own waste, keeping themselves clean, and remaining in their designated habitats even during crisis conditions. If applying the same level of realism that is displayed by the Clanker powers, the streets of Darwinist countries should be paved with feces.
    • Charles Darwin is also relegated to a sort of scientific Ubermensch, developing not only evolutionary theory, but also discovering DNA and genetic extraction, manipulation, and insertion, all under primitive microscopesnote .
    • On the other hand, the Clanker powers field Humongous Mecha in large numbers on the outset of the war (with all the weaponry that implies), are building functioning lightning guns by the second book (capable of destroying the Leviathan and other airbeasts in a single shot), and are shown to adapt quickly against Darwinist weaponry (kraken-fighting arms mounted on their ships, using flamethrowers to startle and chase off flechette bats). There's also the fact that mounting a couple of Clanker engines on the Leviathan makes the ship faster than its Darwinist motivator engines ever did (their unwieldiness attributed to hasty installation rather than inherent to mechaniks).
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Judging from the illustrations, Deryn makes a damn fine guy and girl.
  • Badass Bookworm: Nikola Tesla. How Bad Ass? He takes on three fighting bears, at the same time, with an electrified walking stick he invented himself, and wins.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • It's mentioned that Russia uses genetically-engineered bears. Russia is also drawn as a giant, rotting bear on the inside cover maps.
    • As of Goliath, we have seen the bears; not only are they huge, it also turns out everything's even worse with starving bears.
  • Beta Couple: Dr. Barlow and Volger, it seems.
  • Bi the Way: Lilit likes girls at least.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Alek and Deryn atop the Leviathan.
    • With a followup in the bonus chapter, close up this time.
  • Bilingual Backfire: Played with. Dr. Barlow pretends not to speak German in the hopes of tricking Alek and Volger into thinking it is safe for them to discuss their secrets in German in her presence.
  • Bio Punk: Darwinists.
  • Body Horror: Great googly moogly! The story itself isn't quite so much in this category, the descriptions are not by any means disgusting. However, the books have pictures.
    • Special mention goes to Deryn's compress after she busts up her knee. It is some kind of fabricated beast that extends its tentacles into her knee to fix torn ligaments. And if she tries to put weight on her leg it sounds and feels like she has a swarm of angry wasps in her knee. One of the few places where the description in the text is worse than the pictures.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Sharing the pain of having dead parent(s) is one of the things that help Alek and Dylan/Deryn grow closer.
  • Cane Fu: Tesla's Weapon of Choice.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Every time Deryn comes close to admitting to Alek that she's a girl, either she cannot go on for fear that telling him the truth will upend their friendship (it does for a while after he finds out), or something conveniently ends the conversation. This behaviour is lampshaded by Alek himself.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Alek, up till the third book.
  • Catch Phrase: "Barking spiders!" might as well be one for Deryn, considering how much she says it. And Bovril has "Mr. Sharp!", usually followed by giggles.
    • "...a barking prince," is used quite a bit.
    • Dummkopf! (At least in Behemoth.)
  • Caught in the Rain: Goliath takes this to extremes when Alek and Deryn are stuck in a flood on top of the ship.
  • Celibate Hero: Alek started out as this because of his title.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tesla's electric walking stick.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nikola Tesla.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In Behemoth, while drinking tea, Deryn calls Volger out on feeling pleased and drinking tea from a fancy cup while Alek is left without allies while in the city of Istanbul. Volger's response is to point out that Deryn's tea cup is the fancy one. His is quite plain.
  • Concussions Get You High: Alek was a bit boggled after slipping and hitting his head on the topside of the Leviathan.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The London Zoological Society. In Goliath, Dr. Barlow says that it's involved in a good deal of espionage and offers Deryn a job.
  • Cultured Badass: Alek. The "cultured" portion doesn't really come in handy much on the airship, much to his dismay.
  • Dashingly Dapper Derby: The boffins all wear bowler hats.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Alek is rather sexist, much to Dylan/Deryn's chagrin.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Most Clankers see fabs as "godless abominations". The Behemoth counts as well.
  • Emo Teen: Volger lampshades Alek's sulking.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When we first meet Tesla, he reveals that he killed his own airship and fed it to feral Russian fighting bears so that he could stay in Siberia to continue his research.
  • Everyone Can See It: Almost everyone who knows about Deryn's true gender questions her relation to Alek.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: According to Alek, some of the fabs Darwinists use in battle contain the DNA of long-dead reptiles.
  • Evil Uncle: Alek's Granduncle, Emperor Franz Joseph, did not approve of Archduke Franz Ferdinand falling in love with Sophie Chotek, which is why they had to get a morganatic/left-handed marriage...which is why Alek isn't his father's heir.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Apparently Alek's mother would not have approved of him learning to pilot the Stormwalker unless it was such an emergency.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Volger and Deryn know how it's done.
  • Fate Drives Us Together
    Deryn: We're meant to be together.
  • Flechette Storm: The Darwinists have beasties designed to take down aircraft this way. They even call them flechette bats.
    Alek: Flechette? Like 'dart' in French?
    Deryn: That sounds right. The bats gobble up these metal spikes, then release them over the enemy.
    Alek: They eat spikes. And then...release them?
    Deryn: *stifles laugh* Aye, in the usual way.
  • Flesh Versus Steel: To a T.
  • Flying Seafood Special: The Leviathan.
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe, The Perils of Pauline inspire a number of movies that sound rather similar.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Alek often breaks off during conversations in English to swear in German.
    Alek: Dummkopf!
  • Future Slang: Future-past Steampunk, occasionally period-accurate slang. Blisters!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Immediately after Deryn worries that Alek may have learned that she's a girl during fencing lessons, Alek instructs her to turn her chest to the side, so as to provide the "smallest possible target." Deryn then muses that her secret is safe.
    • "He leaned forward to kiss her. His lips were soft against hers, but they kindled something sharp and hard inside her, something that had waited impatiently all the months since this boy had come aboard." Reverse the genders in this sentence.
    • See also the Future Slang. "Clart-covered bum-rag" indeed.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: It's actually how Alek meets the Committee for Union and Progress - Zaven saves him from a long fall from a rooftop gutter. Justified because Zaven caught him before he'd fallen too far.
  • Gilligan Cut: Alek ends one chapter saying he'll be fine carrying Ms. Barlow as long as she doesn't bring her pet along. Next chapter:
    Tazza seemed to enjoy riding in the Stormwalker.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Played With. Alek actually realizes that Deryn is in love with him through Deryn's own jealousy over Lilit.
  • Grey and Grey Morality
  • Grow Old with Me: Alek momentarily wants Deryn to live with him in New York away from the troubles of the war.
  • Harmony Versus Discipline: Played completely straight in the series. The Darwinists represent Harmony, harnessing nature for war and having a generally more organic aesthetic about them. The Clankers on the other hand represent Discipline, manufacturing whatever they use, with an aesthetic characterised by angularity and general disregard for nature.
    • In fact, the two main characters themselves embody this conflict very neatly. Deryn is very obviously set up as the harmonious one, defying Victorian social conventions (a very Discipline-esque system) by disguising herself as a boy and entering the British Air Service. As a person, she shows little inhibition and respect. Alek, who was raised surrounded by rules, obligations and restrictions, is almost exaggeratedly disciplined: controlled, virtuous and very formal, but unable to adapt and with a certain belief that everything must be planned and predictable.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Zaven, who electrocutes himself in his mech to bring down the Tesla cannon, thus saving Deryn, Alek, and everyone aboard the Leviathan.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Westerfield makes liberal use of this. There's Emperor Franz Joseph, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, and The Pope (Pius X... unless it's someone different). For those who appear in person, Darwin's granddaughter Nora Barlow is a major character. Behemoth introduces Wilhelm Souchon, a certain Serbian scientist called Tesla, Pancho Villa, and William Randolph Hearst.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Orient Express. Not only is it actually used to ship parts for their Tesla cannon, but it was built with Clanker technology, and so it has giant robot arms.
  • Holding Hands: Deryn grabs Alek's hands at the end of Goliath before he kisses her.
  • Honour Before Reason: The main reason Clanker warmachines are mechs rather than tanks. Alek finds the idea of them using wheels or treads ridiculous, since they're weapons, not farm equipment (which is pretty funny, since IRL tanks started out as caterpillar-treaded tractors with guns and armor plating slapped on), despite the logistics and mechanics of wheels being far simpler and easier to deal with than walking armatures.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The Darwinist beasties.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Barlow.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Germans and Austrians favor Walking Tanks while the Ottomans and their various subjects use walkers modeled after animals or beings from mythology.
  • Improvised Zipline: Deryn is up in a scouting balloon and sees Alek's "family" coming to the shipwreck looking for him in their Stormwalker. The message lizard won't get down the cable in time, so she slings a leather strap over the tether and zips down to camp.
    • It is noted that the odds of one surviving this sort of escape are against you.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not an iceberg, it's a glacier, Newkirk. Also, Is-tan-bul (not Constantinople).
  • Instant Sedation: The fighting bear experiences the tranquilliser dart's effects seconds after it is hit, highly improbable since the bears are described to be as large as houses.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Alek (rich) and Deryn (poor).
  • It Can Think: Though never explicitly revealed, by the end of Goliath it's implied that the perspicacious lorises are capable of thinking and learning, and are in fact just as intelligent as humans.
  • It's All Junk: At the end of Goliath, Alek flings his papal letter from the Leviathan into New York Harbor, choosing Deryn over Austria-Hungary.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: A mild case, all things considered, but Deryn.
  • Kidnapped by an Ally: Volger and Klopp tell Alek his fathers wants him to practice fleeing his home at night with the Stormwalker.
  • King Incognito: Alek, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. Although he's the result of a morganaticnote  marraige, Franz Ferdinand went to the Vatican and got a papal dispensation to make Alek heir, although it would only apply after the Emperor's death.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The eponymous Leviathan is not so much, but krakens, complete with Combat Tentacles, are part of the Darwinists' arsenal.
  • La Résistance: In Istanbul, there is the Committee of Union and Progress which wants to remove the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and replace him with an elected government. They existed in real life too.
    • In real life, they were successful the first time they tried to overthrow the sultan.
  • The Lad-ette: Deryn's this to those who know she's a girl.
    • Lilit's a toned-down ladette.
  • Lady of Adventure: Dr. Barlow, during her time on the Leviathan.
  • LEGO Genetics: The 'Darwinist' Nations can combine the DNA of species like whales and jelly fish. The eponymous Leviathan is supposedly composed of the DNA of hundreds of species, and is more of an ecosystem then a single animal.
  • Living Gasbag: Hullo, Huxleys...!
  • Living Weapon: Somewhere between this and an Attack Animal with the Fabricated Animals. There are examples of the later (like the flechette bats that you feed them fruits filled with metal needles, then scare them into pooping the needles on enemies) and examples of the former (the Leviathan, an airship that is alive).
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Alek, all over.
  • Love Across Battlelines: Deryn and Alek.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: How Alek feels about his actions during the climax of Goliath.
  • Love Epiphany: Alek realises that he loves Deryn when he kills Tesla not to save Berlin, but to save ''her''.
  • Love Triangle: Type 5: Lilit has a crush on Deryn/Dylan, who likes Alek, who thinks Lilit is attractive but can't have any real feelings for her because she's a commoner. Deryn faces the same problem, with the added stumbling block that as far as Alek knows, she's a boy.
  • Love You and Everybody
    Alek: What I'm really trying to say, Dylan, is that I think I'm in love... with the ship.
  • Meaningful Name: Though it seems like a case of Aerith and Bob at first glance, Deryn is a real Welsh name...meaning "bird".
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Clankers. The alliance apparently named themselves after their war machines.
    • The mechs themselves are usually called walkers. In Istanbul, they also have iron golems (used by the Jews), djinn (used by Arabs), werewolves (Vlachs), and Minotaurs (Greeks).note 
  • Mechanical Horse: Some of the smaller Clanker machines, and the transports featured in Constanti - sorry, Istanbul during Behemoth.
  • Mini-Mecha: Used for scouting.note 
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The fabricated animals.
    • Of particular note are the British beasties that are combined with dinosaurs.
  • More Dakka: The Clankers.
    Dr. Barlow: "What the Clankers lack in finesse they make up for in blanket ruination."
  • Multinational Team: The Committee for Union and Progress. They're all living in Istanbul, but individually they are Greeks, Turks, Jews, and more, and they only became united under one purpose recently in Behemoth.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Dr. Barlow (a Darwinist boffin) and Nikola Tesla (a Clanker inventor).
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Everyone seems to think Alek never curses, but when you count all the times it says, "Alek swore" or "Alek cursed softly in German," or anything like that, you can see that he's almost as bad as Deryn.
    • Alek has also mentioned Deryn teaching him how to swear properly in English.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Flying whale battleships with electric (and later diesel) engines! Flying manta rays with Gatling guns! Robot elephants! Jewish mecha-golems! World War One battleships with Tesla cannons! Walking submersible warships!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted; all the real historical figures who appear (including Dr. Barlow, Nikola Tesla, William Randolph Hearst and Pancho Villa) or get mentioned (Emperor Joseph of Austria, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, Winston Churchill, etc.) are given their real names. And at least one celebrity gets most thoroughly harmed when Alek electrocutes Tesla with his own walking stick.
  • Non Sequitur Thud
    Alek:'re a girl, aren't you?
  • Not in Front of the Parrot: Volger in particular is leery of speaking in front of messenger lizards, which are bred to be talented mimics. The perspicacious loris is even better/worse.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Played with in the afterword of each book, where Westerfeld explains that the books are based off of actual events of World War One, and elaborates on which elements are kept mostly the same and which have been altered for the sake of atmosphere.
  • No Periods, Period: Something that hasn't slipped past the notice of the fanfic authors...
    • Wordof God: Mr. Westerfeld said, "Women back then didn't menstruate as early, and women who pretended to be soldiers often stopped menstruating altogether. (Hard physical exercise and not a lot of food will do that.) So my guess is that she's not having any periods."
  • Oblivious to Love: Alek to Deryn, although justified in that he was under the impression she was a boy. Deryn to Lilit, too, until Alek tells her. He finds out in Goliath.
  • Odd Name Out: The first two novels are named after beasts from Jewish mythology (Leviathan and Behemoth) representing sea and land respectively. The beast representing the sky, Ziz, won't be the name of the third book because it was deemed too obscure and too short. Instead, the third book will be named Goliath. Westerfeld also said on his blog that he thought 'Ziz' wasn't well known enough. Goliath was suggested by a fan.
    • The Goliath isn't a beastie, anyway, so this trope is entirely appropriate.
  • Older Than They Think: The cliff-hanger, in-universe.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: Charles Darwin.
  • Organic Technology: Fabricated beasts.
  • Orient Express: Heavily involved in the climax. This version has robot arms and transports military material.
  • Parental Abandonment: Alek's parents are dead (of course) and so is Deryn's da.
  • Plucky Middie: Deryn, Newkirk and the other, briefly seen middies.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Doctor Barlow shows up in several, leaving Deryn wondering where she gets them from.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Apparently, they also provide armed mechs and other services for anyone willing to pay the hefty price tag. The fact that America is neutral in the War probably helps as well.
  • Pursuing Parental Perils: The fact that her father died ballooning has done nothing to diminish Deryn's desire to fly.
  • Real Robot: The walkers run on finite fuel supplies, the difficulties in piloting them in varied terrain are detailed, and they are not at all easy to manage.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Discussed. After Dr. Barlow proposes that Deryn join her diplomatic (that is to say, spy) organization, and after Deryn tells Dr. Barlow her big secret, Barlow jokes that Deryn could end up disguising herself as a girl.
    • In the bonus Christmas chapter on Westerfeld's blog, Deryn does disguise herself as a girl. As does Alek.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sweet Polly Oliver Deryn Sharp is the red to Blue Blood Prince Alek.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Alek, again. He doesn't know how to buy a newspaper. He's been sheltered and therefore very naive in dealing with other people. However, behind the levers of a Stormwalker or coming up with battle plans, he's a certified genius. Hell, he's compared to Mozart.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Bovril and the other perspicacious loris.
  • Rule of Three: Tesla insists that all his silverware be arranged in sets of three.
  • Running Gag: Dummkopf! in Behemoth. In the same book, "Mr. Sharp!" is Bovril's favorite phrase, using it try to point out something (he/she/it?) is trying to explain... and poor Alek can't pick up the hint.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Alek's first meeting with Lilit, in which he assumes she is a man in a disguise.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Dr. Barlow, at times. It takes roughly half of Behemoth for Deryn to find out why Barlow called a certain fab the perspicacious loris, and Deryn thinks that "nascent fixation" sounds "a bit sinister, even if baby ducks [do] it too."
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Alek was this in the beginning of Leviathan when it came to non-Clanker-mecha situations.
  • Shipper on Deck: Alek appears to be this for Dylan and Lilit, little realizing Dylan is actually a girl who has a crush on him.
    • Bovril, of all things, gets into this to some degree, for Alek and Deryn. It goes so far as to reveal "Dylan's" little secret...
  • Shout-Out: Nene claims the world is on a turtle resting on elephants all the way down.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Alek has reddish-brown hair and green eyes.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Alek and Deryn alternate usually every two chapters as the viewpoint character; sometimes they're off doing separate things, sometimes they're together. In those chapters, the main difference (since it's third person all the time) is that Deryn refers to herself as such, while Alek knows her exclusively as "Dylan."
    • Which gets really confusing in Goliath once Alek learns "Dylan's" real identity.
  • Small Annoying Creature: Bovril.
  • The Smurfette Principle: If we only count openly female characters, then Dr. Barlow has a very strong record of this in Leviathan, and for the majority of Goliath as well.
  • Spider Tank: The Clanker Land Frigates.
  • Steam Punk: The Clanker Nations, including Germany and Austria-Hungary.
    • Additionally, since they run on Kerosene, Diesel Punk.
  • Stern Teacher: Volger, Alek's fencing master. Very stern, very no-nonsense, very dear to Alek.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Deryn disguising herself to work as an airman.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Averted as of the end of the first book; Alek seems to have only comradely feelings towards "Dylan"/Deryn. There are hints of UST on her part, however.
    • He does admit "Dylan" is good-looking. Lilit also has a thing for "him." And it's implied she realizes the charade before they part ways, but she doesn't seem too put out about it at all.
    • Wordof God says she knew very well Deryn was a girl. Also, when she and Deryn meet again in Goliath, Lilit lied when she said that kissing Deryn was just curiosity; Lilit really fell in love with Deryn.
    • Alek definitely gets into this in Goliath, going so far as to kill Nikola Tesla and abdicate the throne for her by the end.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Deryn told the crew of the Leviathan that Artemis Sharp was her uncle to prevent suspicion over the fact that Artemis Sharp only has one son and one daughter. However, Alek was told in confidence that Artemis Sharp is indeed her father.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Eddie Malone in Goliath. He's dead-set on publishing Deryn's real identity without regard to the fact that it will ruin her, even though she smuggled him onto the Leviathan. He even insists that Alek saving his life isn't enough to dissuade him and only relents after Alek gives him an alternate story.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never do really find out what the perspicacious loris was supposed to do.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: The czar sends some of these in his package, along with numerous hunks of meat, which, the Leviathan's crew members later work out, are meant to be used to hinder Tesla's hungry fighting bears while they rescue the inventor.
  • Translation Convention: Every conversation between Alek and his men is typed in English, though they really are speaking in German. When Deryn is narrating, though, their conversations are in German.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: There is a lot of this between Alek and Deryn in the second half of Goliath. Their unwillingness to advance is justified since both have their futures to consider, though both eventually overcome their fears of losing the things they once lived for, and find a new life together at the London Zoological Society.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Bumrag" = "asshole," "barking" = "fucking," "clart" = "shit".
    • Or "jerk", "freaking", and "crap" respectively, given how casually they're thrown around, even in mixed company.
  • They Do: Alek and Deryn. And the shippers rejoiced.
  • Tomboy: Deryn. She's One of the Boys, too.
  • Unusual Pets For Unusual People: Dr. Nora Barlow, a geneticist who is personally responsible for a lot of the Organic Technology used by Britain in that alternate timeline, has a pet Thylacine named Tazza. Many people mistake him for a fabricated beast and have to be told that he's actually completely natural.
  • Warrior Prince: Alek.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Count Volger to Alek, who sees him as a father.
  • Whale Egg: The perspicacious loris is hatched from an egg and, judging from what Deryn says, many fabricated beasts are "born" this way.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: ''Mr.'' Sharp.
  • Wham Line: Warning: huge Goliath spoilers! "Can I trust you? Can I trust you, Deryn?" and "Deryn Sharp was in love with him."
  • Winston Churchill: Lord of the Admiralty.
  • Word of God: Alek and Deryn live happily ever after. Also, Newkirk's full name is Eugene William Newkirk. Poor guy.
  • You Didn't Ask: Volger's reasoning for not telling the Leviathan's crew about his wireless radio.
  • You Just Told Me
    Alek: Can I trust you? Can I trust you, Deryn?
    Deryn: Aye, of course you can.
    Deryn: (Internally) Oh, blisters.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The Germans use zeppelins extensively, and the Leviathan for the Darwinists. It is also implied that they use other, smaller airship fabs too.