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Book Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1)Title: Mortal Engines 
Author: Philip Reeve
Series: The Mortal Engines Quartet #1
Pages: 293
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of Publication: 1st April 2002
Source: Found in the house ;)
Synopsis from Goodreads: It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea ...

The great traction city london is on the move again. It has been lying low, skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, as its great mountain of metal lumbers along in hot pursuit of its quarry, the sinister plans it has harbored for years can finally start to unfold behind its soaring walls ...

Thaddeus Valentine, London's Head Historian and most famous archaeologist, and his daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes. Only the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice, prevents Valentine from being stabbed in the heart. Madly 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 an unforgettable adventure story set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism -- and betrayal.

My Thoughts:
I actually really enjoyed this book, WAY more than I thought I would. I'm not a big fan of steampunk - sometimes it just goes straight over my head and I'm left feeling really confused, but with Mortal Engines I didn't find that I had this problem. (Much. Nothing that a short reread couldn't fix) At the beginning, sure, I found the concept very strange and a little difficult to get my head around, but once I stopped thinking too hard and just concentrated on the story, I was hooked.

Mortal Engines is about cities on wheels eating other cities on wheels. Weird, I know, but it actually makes for really good reading. As I said before, you kind of have to just turn off the voices in your heard screaming, 'It's not possible! HOW is that possible?!' and just concentrate on the story. I guess that's the beauty of Reeve's writing - that you could just sit back and concentrate so fully on the story that no matter how crazy the plot, no matter how unbelievable the world in which the story is set in is, you can still get sucked in and imagine it playing out like a movie in your head.

The world of this series is crazy, like super strange. However, it so well thought out and so well described that it makes perfect sense, once I'd read the description paragraphs a couple of times, just to make sure I knew what was going on. That makes it sound like there are whole paragraphs of description... Don't worry, there aren't! The description is cleverly placed throughout the book, and sometimes I missed it, I guess, is all I should really say on this matter. Anyway, I found it so easy to imagine it in my head, and I've said it on Twitter, but I'll say it again, this book would make an AWESOME movie. It would be SO good, but ONLY if it was done right... Have you ever played Professor Layton on DS? You know the little movie scenes in that? I couldn't stop imagining the movie being like that while I was reading... ;) If it was like that it would be AWESOME :D

Anyhoo, I've gotten a little off topic. Back to my review. I loved the intertwining of what is essentially two stories that start together, get separated, and then end together. I really enjoyed Katherine's story, I think I liked it better than Tom and Hester's... Oh, I don't know! Haha, I think Tom and Hester are ADORABLE - I love how they went from trying to kill each other to really good friends. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book, I hope they're OK! But back to Katherine... I really liked finding out with her all about what MEDUSA was, and as she found out the truth about her father I couldn't help but feel so awful for her. She was so sweet and she believed in her father so much, only to be let down.

And as I said, I love Tom and Hester. I feel so sorry for Hester and her face, and finding out why she was like that nearly broke my heart. Cheesy, I know, but still. It was SO sad! It must have been so awful, and then to have such a permanent and obvious reminder that you see everyday would be torture. I admire her for her strength, and I'm really looking forward to finding out if she grows anymore in the next books, because I think she might be my favourite character.

Overall, Mortal Engines is a great read. It came out in 2002, and I kind of really wish I had read it earlier, though I'm glad I read it now, if that makes sense. I will most definitely be reading the next books in the series as soon as I've got time away from my review books, because I'm itching to know what happens already. I NEED to know. I'd definitely recommend these books if you haven't already read them, because they are truly something special.

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet! - Not quite 5 because there were times I got confused and had to reread... ;) But apart from that it was AWESOME :D

100+ Reading Challenge #102


  1. I really, really loved this one! I'm glad you gave it a chance :)


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