Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve

"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." The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold. 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. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon. In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism -- and betrayal."

Municipal Darwinisim...THIS is the one I've been waiting for! Proper Steampunk! Mortal Engines was a complete gem of a read. It's one I might have steered clear of, if not for the Twitterverse, because it's a YA read and I'm always wary of those. What with me being so old and all.  But I got a recommendation via Twitter and I'm so glad I cracked into it, what a hidden treasure.

If you're a fan of Pulman, or The Terminator, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or A Series of Unfortunate Events you'll find something to enjoy in Mortal Engines, I promise you. It's one of those rarities that works equally well whether you're twelve or waiting on your bus pass. Ageless. I'd happily read this to my son, and lend it to my Mum. And there aren't many titles I can say that about.

It's the World-building that makes it, there's something for everyone, and so much to get your teeth into should you want to immerse yourself in Reeve's world. It's clever, and it's layered, and what a difference from the cardboard cut-outs I've been reading recently.

Mortal Engines is action packed and roars along at at a cracking pace. The plot is intriguing and the body count is high. Reeve's series opener is innovative, beautifully imagined, well written and perfectly paced. I can't fault it. I would love, love love love to see this as an animated film...oh my'd be stunning.

The good news for me is that not only are there three more in the series, which I'll definitely be enjoying;

but there's also a prequel out now too, so I can immerse myself in blissful Reeveness for a good while to come;

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good, solid Steampunk, me likey :) I'll have to check it out :)