Tuesday 29 May 2012

Book Review - Mortal Engines

Title: Mortal Engines
Author: Philip Reeve
Series: Mortal Engines (book 1)
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 4th May 2009 (this edition)
ISBN13: 9781407110912

London is hunting
The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on. Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.

Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero, Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine, from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw -- only to find himself thrown from the city and stranded with Hester in the Out Country. As they struggle to follow the tracks of the city, the sinister plans of London's leaders begin to unfold ...

My Review
This is one of those books that I had looked at multiple times but never got round to reading, I think I took it out of the library at least 3 times but always had to return it before I had time to read it. But last week I knew I was going to meet the author at the 'Worlds of Tomorrow' event in London so I knew it was time to finally read it. 
I looked for it on the Monday and it was out, I was so annoyed, thinking that now I had made time to read it, I wouldn't be able to, but that afternoon someone returned it so I snatched it up quick and started it in my tea break that afternoon. 
My initial reaction was 'What?!?' This is weird', but then, I like weird so I was prepared to give it a try. Basically towns and cities don't just stay in one place any more, they are mobile and travel the world, dodging waste sites and barren lands. Big cities like London catch smaller towns and 'eat' them - strip them down for materials and fuels. It's a rough existence but seems to work in it's own way. This is a very strange, but somewhat brilliant idea, I really found myself getting into it within a few pages. 
This story mainly follows Tom - he works as an apprentice in the museum, but he wants more, then one day he is invited out with Valentine - an important member of society, but when a murder attempt is carried out by Hester Shaw he is thrown in a whole new world. Tom and Hester end up stranded and desperate to get back to London, but throughout the journey they meet a host of colourful characters, get to know each other better and get to know themselves too.
I liked Hester a lot - she's feisty, she's fierce and won't take any rubbish from anyone, she is a tough cookie with a strong sense of justice. She also has a great wit and sarcasm. She starts off as a bit of a mystery and quite closed off, but as the book develops so does she and I really did like her.
Tom starts off as the under-dog and you just know he will be the hero, he can be a bit sulky and very impulsive, he's eager to prove himself and make others proud of him, but in the same way as Hester, as the book progresses he finds a new side to himself and starts to hold his own.
This book is a real mix of, dare I say it - Sci-Fi, Mystery, Love story and Adventure. It really carries you away. 
I really wasn't sure I would enjoy it before I started but I honestly did - I even laughed out loud at a couple of moments. I will definitely be trying to read the rest of the series.

 My Rating

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