I loved the concept behind the Darwinists and the Clankers, and though I'm a fan of steam-punk and alternate history, the Darwinist creations in this story were rather novel, at least to me. The idea of a giant flying whale... wow, where did that come from?! However, I had a couple of niggling problems with the story that kept me from giving this more than three stars. Deryn/Dylan never really came to life for me and I didn't buy into her male role in the Air Service. Alek was more believable to me and the dedication and loyalty of his men was what I would expect toward the son of Franz Ferdinand. Another thing that bothered me, and maybe it's just me, but I was getting a very "Golden Compass" vibe from the character Dr. Barlow. She reminded me very much of that nasty woman with the vicious daemon (can't recall her name). Anyway, I am wary of her actions and will be reading the next book to see what she is up to. I may be on the wrong track entirely but there is something about her I don't like.
A solid three stars, read it if you like alternate history or steam punk.