Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Image result for mortal engines bookIn the aftermath of a great war, cities have become roving machines whose goal is to eat smaller cities and towns in order to gain much-needed supplies.  London has been skulking in the hills to avoid bigger cities but that is about to change as a man sets into motion a new danger. 

Thaddeus Valentine, London’s Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice.  In chasing the assassin Tom tumbles down a waste chute ending up in the Out-Country.  It is the Earth scored with dozens of tracks made by the steaming cities.

He sets out on a wild journey with the scarred assassin coming to realize the dangerous truth of people, cities, and the lengths everyone is willing to go to achieve their ends.  The only question is whether he will survive long enough to stop the destruction that is about to be unleashed upon his world. 

Mortal Engines is a book within a genre I don’t normally read.  However, my cousin encouraged me to read it. Let’s just say I am so glad I did.  This book was a stunningly heart-rending tale that has left me craving for the second book.  The characters were excellently rendered but what was even better was the unique world-building.

The author created a world of rolling cities in the aftermath of a war that destroyed the world as we knew it.  The cities must survive by eating and taking from other cities and towns in order to gain the resources they need to maintain the wheels and engines that run the town.  It was an interesting look at a futuristic society where every town must look out for themselves.  There are no countries just cities rolling over the Earth with inhabitants making a living in a world of metal.  I loved this unique take even if it was hard to figure out what was going on in the first few chapters.

The individuality of this tale was carried through by the characters.  A scarred girl, an orphan whose only life has been as an apprentice, the daughter of a famous historian/scavenger, and a variety of other characters added life and color to the story.  The author showed the good and the bad sides of each character.  They weren’t perfect and one even loved the villains.  They built upon one another to create a vivid cast bringing to life this futuristic world.

Related imageSoon, after reading this book I decided to watch the movie and I cannot say that I enjoyed the movie as much as the book.  The book is almost always better than the movie and this is the case for Mortal Engines.  The movie strayed from the book on major plot points and took away from the characters the things we loved most.  Minor details and plot points were not adhered to and Valentine became the main villain when in the book he was the morally gray character who is eventually reformed.  In this movie, the ending was not phenomenal while in the book we were left in a state of shock.  I would definitely say read the book and forgo the movie.

In the end, this book was stunning and I would definitely recommend it.  It will wrap up readers in a vivid futuristic world and drag them along until the final epic chapter.  One’s heart will be broken and remade a dozen times over and one will not emerge from this tale without the memorable scars made by a wonderfully written tale.

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