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Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Hungry City Chronicles #1)

Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles) Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Hungry City Chronicles #1)

from the back of the book

London is hunting!

The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on.  In the not-so-distant future, mobile cities consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism. Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw – only to find himself thrown from the city and stranded with Hester in the Out Country.  As they struggle to follow the city, the sinister plans of London’s leaders begin to unfold…

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bookshelf: Yes, definitely

How I got it: Bought

Fantastic! I heard such great feedback from people who have given me the best recommendations, so I had to try this. When I asked what it was about, however, they started sputtering about Municipal Darwinism and at that point I started tuning them out. I hope I can explain it better. This takes place far in the future, but there’s an Industrial Revolution/Victorian feel about the time period. The cities have become mobile. They roll around in search of smaller towns they can “eat” for parts, supplies, labor, and trade. There’s an evil plot put in motion by certain Londoners and it’s a race to see if anyone can stop them.

There’s definitely a Steampunk feel to this book, but it’s not for the sake of being Steampunk. Did that make sense? There are certain books that have been written to appeal specifically to the Steampunk crowd, and you can tell. This, however, feels like Steampunk but without being blatantly targeted for it. I appreciate that.

I liked that action and excitement throughout the book.  While Tom and Hester are our main characters, there are quite a few subplots going on throughout the book and they definitely added to the emotional impact of the story.  The world building is also really well thought out and intriguing. The descriptions of the Traction Cities and the Stationary Cities were great, and there were some really neat descriptions of the mechanics of the Traction cities.  I also enjoyed the various throwbacks to the ancient past, which is actually now.  While there was much to enjoy about this book, there were also many sad and depressing parts. I only mention this because sometimes this is promoted as a kid’s book, but really I think this is more of a YA (mid to upper teen) novel.  Not necessarily for the subject matter itself, but for the way it’s discussed between the characters in the book.

This has become one of my favorite series, and not just for a YA series. This is one of those “Jeez, I wish they had this when I was growing up” books.