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Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines is the first book in the YA sci-fi/dystopia Predator Cities quartet by Philip Reeve.

This is an older series that’s been re-released. As you know I’ve read the Fever Crumb series up to its personally rather disappointing third book Scrivener’s Moon – but what I’ve always heard the most about is this original set of books – and I’m finally reading them.

London is one of the greatest Traction Cities – it’s been hunting down and eating many smaller cities and towns for generations. But prey is starting to get slim. So, when London is chasing down a frightened small town, the Londoners are desperate to overpower it – because if it does not, London could be in danger of becoming a victim itself.

Successful and triumphant, London begins hacking it up – gathering what is useful, destroying what is not, and checking the survivors for entrance into London. Among the inhabitants is a terribly scarred girl named Hester Shaw. Tom Natsworthy, Apprentice Historian to the London Museum, witnesses her murderous attack on a fellow Londoner – and his life changes drastically.

Events fling him and Hester into the barren wasteland of the Out-Country, horrifying Tom and his lifelong mobile city life mind frame. Soon, though, Tom begins to learn unwelcome secrets about the world of hungry cities, ancient half-man/half-robot Stalkers that are seeking them and appalling plans that threaten their future…

I was instantly fascinated in the world Philip Reeve creates here. I see how the events of Fever Crumb could have led here – but it’s so far in the future and so much more than I could have imagined! It’s very cool.

Quickly I felt a connection to Tom, and it didn’t take long to feel the same about guarded Hester. They’re both strong, admirable characters to follow in such a hostile landscape.

Mortal Engines is action packed and full of questions and intrigue from the beginning! There’s surprising twists within the first thirty pages, let alone the rest of the book!

Between the two main characters there is a bond and compassion that grows subtly – as well as background, secondary characters that came to be courageous, sympathetic, and root-worthy also. I cared about these people, their relationships, and the terrible situations they’re facing.

Mortal Engines was truly scary and suspenseful – its end was very, very sad yet also encouraging and hopeful. That’s the mark of something special, I think. I’ll definitely be reading the next book!


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