The first thing that attracted me to this was the beautiful steam-punk cover to the second book, Behemoth. The blurb gave me high hopes, and I really wasn't disappointed. I didnt like Westerfeld's Uglies series, but this is something completely different, and it fits steampunk perfectly.The idea of warships made of machinery and animals, cross dressing, lady boffins and world war 1 thrown together with humour was pulled off perfectly. I liked the strong personalities of all of the characters, from the main ones Alek and Devyn, to the extremely irritating midshipman who is featured in a total of about two pages. Every single one is well fleshed out, believable and easy to connect with. So much happens in this book, that you would not believe that the second half of this happens over a time period of four days. Four days. You can fit a lot into four days in real life, but its unbelievable that that much could happen in said time period. That fact is a reminder of exactly how fast paced and thrilling the whole thing is, ie very. To top it off, Keith Thompson's illustrations are extremely beautiful, breaking up the lines of text and adding that little finishing touch to the book.