Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
// Book Review //
Thank you to Scholastic Press for this complimentary review copy!
“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.” It isn’t often that the first words in a book begin in the middle of a fervent chase, however Mortal Engines wastes no time in setting the pace for this fantastical story. Thousands of years after the world as we know it ends, surviving cities and towns roam the earth on the sea, in the sky, and most notably - on wheels. The feared city of London grows tired of hunting small towns for resources and longs for more suitable prey. In the event that led to the earth’s intense shift, the most highly advanced technology of the old era was lost to time… until London learns of a top-secret “old tech” weapon capable of restoring them to their former glory. The daunting race gets rolling between the feared towering city and a group of improbable intercontinental friends for the control of the future.
There are a number of areas that Phillip Reeves knocks out of the park in Mortal Engines, such as the elegiac painting it creates of our altered world and the descriptive scenery along the way. The protagonists of the story travel long distances throughout the book, and while the story never seems aimless it remains easy to appreciate how sizable the traveled world feels. Another highlight of the book for myself was that it at no point felt predictable. The story is so inherently unique and the character’s roles so unfamilliar that they make for an undeniable rollercoaster from start to finish. With today’s release of the cinematic take on this book, I recommend to anyone interested in this captivating story to read the book first. While I expect the movie to be a stunning visual depiction of events in the book, I can not confidently assume the movie will build the stories depth quite as thoroughly as the book in the readers mind. Mortal Engines is a sometimes fierce, sometimes silly book that is always fun.
Title: Mortal Engines
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic Press