Goliath: Leviathan Trilogy, Book 3

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Goliath: Leviathan Trilogy, Book 3 Book Poster Image
High-flying end to smart, inventive sci-fi series.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The afterward reminds viewers that this series is an "alternate history," and takes place during World War I. In this installment, the United States is close to entering the war. Historical figures including electrical engineering pioneer Nikola Tesla, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, and Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa have major parts to play. Real events -- such as a mysterious explosion in Siberia -- and real inventions -- such as the "death ray" Tesla hoped to create -- are key components of the story. Readers will also learn a bit about rival newspapers of the time, physics, early filmmaking, the Mexican Revolution, radio waves, magnetic fields, geography (the Leviathan goes from Siberia to New York), and even the use of semaphore flags.

Positive Messages

Characters seek an all-powerful weapon that will be such a threat it will end all wars; it takes time for them to see the error in that logic. The importance of honesty in friendship is explored, but so is lying to protect your friends. There are smaller messages about bravery, why two heads are better than one (or rather, more "perspicacious"), and the dangers of sensationalist journalism.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Deryn is as brave as always, and still determined to hide the fact that she's a girl in order to serve her country. She stops keeping secrets from Alek, however. With Deryn's help, Alek finds his place in the world, no longer feeling personally responsible for the course of the war.


An inventor works on a weapon that can wipe out whole cities from anywhere in the world. Characters are injured from falls and in a storm; one character is electrocuted and dies. Ravenous giant bears attack; seen at a distance, warships are overcome by large sea beasts, killing many sailors; a rocket attack explodes hot air balloons as passengers clamor to safety, and submarines are bombed and electrocuted.


A couple kisses and Deryn tries to keep a doctor from removing her shirt when she's injured so he doesn't find out her secret.


Plenty of colorful phrases uttered mostly by Deryn including "bum-rag," "barking spiders," "blisters," and "God's wounds." Plus "piss," "damn," and "dammit."


Mention of the real movie serial The Perils of Pauline.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A drawing of William Randolph Hearst smoking a cigar and mentions of another older gentleman indulging as well. Tesla likes fancy wines, and drinks are served at formal dinners; Alek has some brandy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this final book in the popular sci-fi Leviathan trilogy includes some fascinating and true historical tidbits amid the action (some wartime violence, some attacking creatures, but no gore), and romance (a couple of kisses). They'll visit William Randolph Hearst's castle, the site of a mysterious explosion in the wilds of Siberia, and meet the wild inventor Nikola Tesla.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old March 13, 2015

Flying end inspiring!

A beautiful end to a stupendous story. As soon as I read the first book I was in love with the characters and now more than ever. As the story takes daring twis... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 29, 2011

Great "end" to Leviathan Trilogy!

Goliath was a stunning "end" to the Leviathan Trilogy. Like the rest of the Leviathan books, Goliath was set in a sort of alternate WWI, where techno... Continue reading

What's the story?

Back aboard the part-whale airship the Leviathan, Prince Alek and Midshipman Dylan Sharp resume their easy friendship. But when they pick up the mad inventor Nikola Tesla in the wilds of Siberia, things get a lot more complicated. Tesla is determined to show off his nearly completed invention; one that he claims can take out whole cities from anywhere in the world and end all wars. Alek, looking for a quick way to stop the war, decides to make him an ally and appear with him for a demonstration in Japan. That brings press, cameras, and more cameras, and more truths to light than Alek is ready for. Alek now knows his best friend and confidant is really a girl, Deryn. He has to ask himself how much he is willing to lie for her. And will those lies damage his ties to Tesla and those he hopes can end the war?

Is it any good?

If readers loved the first two books, Leviathan and Behemoth, they'll love the last one too. Though they won't find every loose end tied up -- like how perspicacious will the perspicacious lorises get, for starters? And that's not to mention the bigger picture of a war still going on (though, according to the afterward, this version of World War I will be over much quicker than the real one, thanks in part to Alek and Deryn).

The adventures -- mammoth ocean storms, rescues amidst giant ravenous bears -- always pop up in time to keep GOLIATH from getting too caught up in all the war plotting, identity hiding, and descriptions of complex fabricated beasts, machines, and inventions. It's a lot to juggle, and the series is richer and more memorable for it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the alternate history presented here. What's fact and what's fiction? Do you like that the series introduces you to real historical figures?

  • Families can also talk about this sci-fi series and other favorites. What makes this one a hit? Is it the brave characters, the writer's imaginative take on history, or something else entirely?

  • Deryn is a strong female character in a man's world. What other strong female characters in books or movies do you admire?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history and science fiction

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