Mortal engines by Philip Reeve
After the sixty minute war the world and life as we know it, was turned on it’s head. The war of all wars had only lasted sixty minutes but, had left the landscape of Earth ravaged, destroyed and for the most part, left it far beyond repair. Geological upheaval ensued and chaos rained supreme as people awaited the unavoidable demise of the human race and the inevitable end to life on Earth. Then Nicholas Quirke stepped in. He took it upon himself to save London, what it stood for and all it’s inhabitants too, by putting it on wheels and allowing it avoid any geological disruption and kept order with this new prospect of survival. It wasn’t long before the idea spread and soon millions of settlements followed suit, allowing them to live without fear of total annihilation at the hands of Mother Earth, simply by living on wheels.
Hundreds of years later after Quirke, towns were still roaming around on wheels, even though the geological horrors of their ancestors were in the past and the landscape again began to flourish, signs of life reappearing everywhere. Resistance to the Traction City way of life is wide-spread and The Anti Traction League, or The Enemy is gaining support. Safe behind their giant walls and mountain peaks, the Traction Cities can only look on in despair as their way of life is slowly strangled and killed off, the utopia Quirke build for them spoiled. Distrust for all things Anti-Traction is widespread, tensions could not be higher.
Tom Nastworthy is part of The Historian’s Guild, one of the four Major Guilds which rule The Great Traction City of London. The Historian’s Guild, provide London with enough ancient tech to keep the city in good repair and from simply being torn apart by bigger cities making it one of the Major Guilds. Tom, being a low ranking member of The Historian’s Guild, obviously ends up with all the jobs his, ‘better’s ‘ don’t want to do. On a routine trip to ‘The Gut’, the lowest and least appealing level of London, Tom ends up saving The Head of The Historian’s Guild and his own personal hero, Valentine. In an attempt to impress his childhood hero and his beautiful daughter, Tom attempts to catch the would be assassin and open up a path for him to swiftly move up the ranks. That is until the assassin jumps off London taking his life, leaving Tom with a world shaking revelation, that Valentine, his hero and moral compass, was nothing but a murder. A cold blooded murder. Could this mean everything Tom’s ever known and been thought his whole life is a lie? Or was it more complex than that. Did the lie run so deep that even the population of London was fooled by it?
AGE CATEGORY: 12+
TEEN RATING: 3.9/5
TEEN OVERVIEW: If I’m being totally honest, the awesome cover art and the fact that Mortal Engines is to become a film, were what originally drew me to pick the book up off the shelf! The story concept lacked credibility in my opinion but the fact it was to be made into a movie meant that someone up high saw something in it. Whole cities dug up and put on wheels, really? In hindsight I can definitely see why Mortal Engines would make a good if not brilliant movie, if filmed correctly. However, despite numerous amazing plot twists and fantastic character developments the book remained mediocre but, unfortunately not great, in spite of the fact that there’s enough potential in it for a movie-version of the book . All in all, a decent enough read, despite these set backs.