Fresh story but with some drawbacks
The first thing that could bother you is how Deryn works very hard and has her brother Jaspert as accomplice, to pull off the deception that she's NOT a girl. She goes to great lengths. I doubt kids will get ideas from her, because if your kids are determined, they are going to try it any way. This subject is something to discuss with your children who read the book. Also, the swearing is not our modern swearing, but there's a lot of it, and your kids may feel they can start doing the same. Then one day start using the real things. It's fine for adventure but it's not a moral based book. Darwinism and God are put head to head, with characters growing up in both worlds, but Dawrinism is favored. You can see the writers bias. This definitely became a subject of discussion with my Daughter who is eleven. There is no discussion of God or religion, which is a failure on the writers part to be fair and unbiased in presentation. Deryn is hard working, as is Alek, and they both show courage and face challenges a little too well. Alek startles a soldiers horse that pitches the soldier backwards to the ground resulting in the soldiers death. The book never approaches Alek's thoughts or feelings again on the matter which is another grave failure. In a world where death in media is so common and video games revel in it, it's discouraging that Scott Westerfeld was unwilling to have his character show remorse or further thought about it. The best part of the book is the descriptions of the bonding that Deryn and Alek have with the Leviathon. A living airship. But that coupled with description of the clankers and the belching smoke and oil, clearly indicates that Mr. Westerfeld has environmentalist sympathies. I believe he could have described or used "wise stewardship" or "management" as a proper angle. I only bring this up because Environmentalist groups are aiming at younger and younger individuals to assimilate them. They do not allow for discussion or difference of opinion.
This title contains:
Violence & scariness