I was absolutely over the moon when I got my hands on a copy of The Manual of Aeronautics a sort of companion book to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series with a plethora of utterly brilliant art from the hand of the wonderful Keith Thompson whose art brought much of the story to life. I’m a huge fan of books that are more young adult focused but also have exceptional artwork peppered throughout and this is something that will always keep this collection of books high on the list of novels that I absolutely adore. And as someone who is a great fan of the series, anything that can give me more information into the lives of the characters that I grew to love immensely whilst reading it, there’s no wonder that I felt I needed to have a copy of this book on my shelf. Of course, it took me a few years, but it’s there now and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
The Manual of Aeronautics is basically what it says it is, more of a manual with illustrations and short bursts of text that explain them. It begins, understandably, with the Leviathan itself as well as all the beasties that are involved with its function. It goes on to describe a great variety of other fabricated beasts used by the Darwinists and even what the Clanker machines are like as well. Wonderfully, the book also gives a little more information about the brilliant characters of the book, Deryn and Alek, which I was thoroughly pleased about.
Ultimately, the highlight of The Manual of Aeronautics is the fantastic imagery that you are given. Keith Thompson is a masterful artist and I just adore each and every one of his works through this book. And it was amazing to learn how he created these works of art from the descriptions that Westerfeld gave him, even offering useful information as to how the structure of a ship might work better. You get a bit of insight into how the books were brought together with the artwork, which is exciting and intriguing information. Overall, I’m quite fond of this book.