Vee is on a forced mental health hiatus until 16th June. See you then!

Review of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

by - September 10, 2014

Format: Paperback
Genres: adventure, fantasy, steampunk,
Pages: 373
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 2002
Find The Author: Website ¦ Twitter
Abe Books ¦ Book Depository ¦ Goodreads

The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.

Thaddeus Valentine, London's Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.

In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism - and betrayal.

Mortal Engines is a very strange fantasy tale where London has become a moving city, travelling across the land and eating up the smaller cities and using the materials and parts for their own city. It's a very strange concept to get your head around and for a while I was finding it difficult to get into this book but I'm glad I stuck with it as I really enjoyed the ending.

There's four main characters, but most of the story is told from Tom and Katherine's point of views. They're paired with Pod for Katherine and Hester for Tom and the two pairs have their own adventures and problems to worry about. Katherine would make an amazing ruler of the city, she's never looks down on anyone and tries to help wherever she can.

I wasn't sure about Tom. He has an almost narrator role, it's like he's not really there, he's just narrating. He's kind of useless, leaving Hester to do everything and his back story isn't very interesting either. I would have preferred to just cut him out completely and have the story focused on Hester or Katherine, who are much, much more interesting and actually do stuff.

I'm a bit late to the Mortal Engines party (only you know, 12 years) but I really did enjoy this book. I have the sequel too, so I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next for our characters - I think the sequel will be stronger than this book, as this one was slow in places but the Predator's Gold sounds like it's action packed.

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  1. I haven't read this series either. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. New GFC follower.


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