Book Review: Mortal Engines

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As always, the book is better than the movie.

I usually don’t dip into the world of kids books and if I do, it’s almost always exclusively teen. I’m not really sure where I would put this, I suppose it’s best suited for someone in junior high, just on the beginning end of teen fiction. I honestly picked this up to read because I recently saw the movie adaptation and I wanted to know if the book was as bad as the movie was. Thankfully, it isn’t bad at all!

Mortal Engines takes place in a science fiction/steampunk world much like our own but far into the future. In this future, London and other cities run on wheels and eat smaller cities because of a war that destroyed parts of Earth. Mangus Crome, Lord Mayor of London has gone a bit power crazy and he and Thaddeus Valentine, famous historian and archaeologist hatch a plan to use old technology to create a weapon that will make London the most dominant city.

When Valentine is in “The Gut” of London, where smaller cities go when they’re swallowed up, Hester Shaw, a young girl with a disfigured face attempts to murder him. He is saved by Tom, a historian apprentice who chases the girl and before jumping out of London, she tells Tom to ask Valentine what he had done to her. Moments later after he confronts Valentine, Tom gets shoved down out of London by the now obvious bad guy, Thaddeus Valentine.

The rest of the book involves Tom and Hester running into spies, vigilantes and slave sellers as they try to make their way back to London in order to kill Thaddeus Valentine. I honestly wish I had read this book as a kid, because it was full of everything I loved then. Steampunk was new and something I had no understanding of, and the characters are fun to follow. Tom and Hester make a good team, and I loved the fact that Hester was a badass woman who wasn’t defined by her looks and managed to have relationships despite the fact that she was attacked and disfigured.

The idea behind the book is genius and I could visualize everything while reading. I had a great time with this book which I wasn’t entirely expecting and I would definitely recommend it to kids looking for good adventure stories.

Title: Mortal Engines
Author: Philip Reeve
Format: Paperback
Pages: 296
ISBN:  9780545222112

Three descriptions: Action Packed, Bleak, World Building

Read-Alikes:
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Worldshaker by Richard Harland
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

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