Friday, December 7, 2018

A Book Review of Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve

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London is hunting again. Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed. 

In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage -- and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

Series: Mortal Engines (Book 1)
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic Press; Reprint edition (May 30, 2017)
Page Count: 320 pages

Way back last year when seeing the Last Jedi with friends I saw the teaser for Mortal Engines and wondered what the heck it was. I asked my know-it-all (I love her) friend and she told me, so I've been wanting to read it and subsequently see the movie. In Canada, I was at a bookstore and decided to purchase the book!

The Plot: The opening line had me and this plot was not as I expected since it went into so many POVs as it was written in omniscient. It was a fun exploration of this crazy far in the future world and it ended in a way I completely didn't expect. It was definitely a wild ride that kept me wanting to read more. 

The Characters: The main character, Tom, was kind of the typical blank character, so I was more interested in characters like Catherine, Shrike, Valentine, and Hester. But it was overall a fun cast of diverse characters. The museum curators were fun and quirky and Anna Fang is just plain epic. Chrysler Peavey was just so crazy I laughed. The one thing that bothered me was that some people were left behind to die and not even the main characters seemed remorseful about it. 

The Setting: If you haven't caught on yet, half of why I want to read or watch something is because I love the worldbuilding and this book has insane worldbuilding. I mean towns that eat each other? It's nuts but brilliant. I also really dig any book that has zeplins. 

Epic Things: Moving almost sentient towns are awesome enough. The idea of stalkers, resurrected mechanical men are morbidly fascinating. I also got a kick out of a town named "Dunroamin'" because there's a street near my house called "Dunmovin." XD

The Theme: The most obvious themes were those of sacrifice and bravery.

Content Cautions:  The content is very light YA maybe even MG. There are only six uses of d***, some potty humor, and some violence. 

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) A Setting So Far into the Future that Mythology Has Developed - The world of Mortal Engines is set way in the future when the landscape is completely different and many wars have occurred. New gods have been created such as Quirke and Cleo that people swear by or pray to.

How this can be applied to writing: Have you thought of setting a book so far into the future that new religions have developed?

2.) Things that May Seem Normal Now May Be Strange in the Future - This may seem like an obvious thing but sometimes it can be forgotten. For Tom living on the ground unmoving is considered strange because he's so used to living in a city.

How this can be applied to writing: Sometimes it's strange being so used to things now that things in the past seem odd like having downloads any time you want and then being confined to discs or even floppy discs a decade or so ago. Keep in mind things that are different for your futuristic characters.

Conclusion: Overall, I enjoyed the book and I want to continue you with the series. :) 

About the Author:
Philip Reeve was born and raised in Brighton, where he worked in a bookshop for a number of years while also co-writing, producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects. Philip then began illustrating, and has since provided illustrations, cartoons and comic strips for around forty children's books, including the best-selling Horrible Histories, Murderous Maths and Dead Famous series. It was while working on these that he wrote his first novel, Mortal Engines.

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