This is one of the most interesting alternate histories of the past few years. With a steampunk twist and more than just a nod to Darwin, this is a fascinating story. Alek and Deryn are believable protagonists, each with a distinct voice, and their adventures will enthrall readers. Also of note are the magnificent illustrations by Keith Thompson.
Prince Aleksander is the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so when his parents are assassinated he must go into hiding with nothing more than a mechanical war machine and a small crew of loyal men. Meanwhile, in England, Deryn Sharp disguises herself as a boy in order to join the British Air Service. Serving on the Leviathan, a gigantic airship that is somehow alive, her path crosses Alek's during a secret mission that could affect the outcome of the growing continental conflict. (SIMON PULSE, Oct., 438 pp., $19.99)