Review – “Mortal Engines” by Philip Reeve


Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1)Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More steampunk from Philip Reeve. This is his first novel, though not the first I read. Fever Crumb was the Reeve book I read first and I think that it was written as a prequel to the Hungry City Chronicles, as London was still a static city. Now though London is mobile, searching for small cities and towns to eat as is fitting in a world of Municipal Darwinism. Tom, a lowly historian, saves Thaddeus Valentine, London’s Head Historian and most famous archaeologist – he’s a bit of a celebrity – from assassination and is thoroughly surprised when upon reaching the would be assassin she leaps through the garbage shoot and onto the ground (a scary thing for one who had never left the roving city). Tom is even more surprised when, upon telling Thaddeus that the girl said to “Remember Hester Shaw“, Thaddeus throws Tom over as well. The idea of roving cities hunting out smaller cities to “eat” at first seems, well, silly; however getting past that is easy with Reeve’s characterization of Tom and Hester. It is the story of the characters that takes the stage, the Municipal Darwinism is simply the setting. In addition to the characters, I enjoy this genre, ‘old’ technology, which is advanced far beyond what is available in the ‘now’ of the story is searched for by archaeologists like Valentine and put into use by the cities. There are instances of characters offering their thoughts on the use of varies tools that are quite humorous, another aspect of the novel I enjoy. Themes: Trust, Truth, Family, Being Different, Love, Right/Wrong

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