It’s a double whammy of new cover art today! Scott Westerfeld has revealed the cover of the third book in his Leviathan trilogy today!
I absolutely love this series, but I have to say I don’t love the style of the new covers. (The new covers being the style Behemoth and Goliath have been done in, with the pseudo-photographic artwork.) For one thing, it’s just not as pretty as the original Leviathan cover. They also feel a little bit too young for me – the original Leviathan cover was great because it had widespread appeal, and lots of adults who were into steampunk picked it up in the bookstore. The new covers read much more “this is a kids’ book” and are just not my thing.
But on the bright side, we still have Keith Thompson’s amazing illustrations inside, and Scott gave us a preview of one illustration from the book. Check it out under the cut.
This is really disappointing. Bitch Magazine made what was an awesome list of feminist YA books. But after a couple of people complained in the comments, they swiftly removed and replaced three books: Tender Morsels, Sisters Red, and Living Dead Girl. Why? One because it was deemed to be too triggering (despite that you could say the same for nearly all the other books on the list) and the other two because of scenes regarding rape.
The only one of these books that I’ve read is Sisters Red, which I think is an excellent feminist novel. (You can read my review here.) Yes, there is a scene in which one of the characters is victim-blaming. But is it wrong to include that in a novel that’s partly about sexuality and rape? Because the scene in question is from Scarlett’s point of view, I don’t think we’re meant to agree with her. Scarlett is a survivor, and if we look at Fenris attacks as symbolic of rapes, I think she’s struggling to prove that she didn’t “deserve” it. Scarlett is angry and irrational and blames herself for everything. I don’t think it’s un-feminist to include a scene where, as part of her struggle, she tries to blame other women. I think it’s something we should discuss, but I don’t think it makes this book un-feminist.
Oh, and you can bet your ass I’m going to go read the other two books now.
You can read wonderful comments on this topic from Holly Black, Maureen Johnson, Diana Peterfreund, and Scott Westerfeld, all of whom have books featured on the list, all of which could be considered triggering or which have been challenged from a feminist viewpoint. I love that these authors are so willing to stand behind their work and their colleagues’ work, and I suggest you go read what they have to say.
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
The second book is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy does not disappoint. Behemoth is one of the releases I was most excited for this year, and it completely exceeded my expectations.
In Leviathan, we were introduced to an alternate WWI era, full of fantastic air beasties and mammoth mechanical walkers. Behemoth takes us to Istanbul (called Constantinople by the British), where we’re introduced to entirely new wonders. Istanbul is full of giant machines designed to look like elephants, which is kind of a brilliant mash-up of the Clanker and Darwinist ideologies: they take the power of the Germans’ machines but are still very connected to the natural world. And one of the Istanbul natives we meet is shocked by the way the Darwinists refer to their beasties as “it” rather than “he” or “she”. Each of the different ethnic neighborhoods of the city also have their own walkers, which they call golems and are designed to look like mythical creatures or characters.