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Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet) by…

Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet) (original 2001; edition 2009)

by Philip Reeve

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1,673664,286 (4)138
Title:Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet)
Authors:Philip Reeve
Info:Marion Lloyd Books (2009), Edition: 1, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Wishlist (inactive)

Work details

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (2001)

  1. 10
    Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (Jannes)
    Jannes: Airships and high adventure in a post-apocalyptic and retrofuturistic word. Also, air pirates.
  2. 10
    Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (Rubbah)
  3. 10
    Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve (joririchardson)
  4. 10
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Maid_Marian)
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    The Teacher's Tales of Terror / Traction City: A World Book Day Flip Book by Chris Priestley (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Traction City features a young Anna Fang, who subsequently has a major role to play in Mortal Engines and its sequels.
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» See also 138 mentions

English (65)  Dutch (1)  All (66)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
This post-apocalyptic, steam-punk novel may be aimed at 11 to 16 year olds, but it appeals to all ages, male and female. This is the second time I have read “Mortal Engines” and I still relish every minute getting to know Hester Shaw, the girl disfigured by her parents’ killer and Tom Natsworthy, a loyal apprentice in the Guild of Historians who encounters Hester in alarming circumstances. We also meet heroic explorer Thaddeus Valentine and the frightening Shrike who has been brought back to life, an amalgam of flesh and metal. Yet both these characters have hidden depths.
Set in a world following the 60 minute war when major cities like London have to travel around the world on wheels preying on smaller towns and cities, their enemies belong to the Ant-Traction League who wish to stop this cruel, belligerent lifestyle.
Perhaps it is Philip Reeve’s previous occupation as an illustrator which makes his descriptions of transportation and multi-tiered cities so easy to visualise but I am looking forward to the promised filming of this novel and desperately hope it will meet my expectation.
( )
  Somerville66 | May 29, 2017 |
I'm discovering that YA fantasy fiction can be more imaginative than adult fiction. Not always (Divergent comes to mind), but probably more often than not. This book is steampunk, but set in a far distant future and the imagination is quite refreshing (once I got used to Reeve's invented vocabulary). Now, it is young adult directed, so there isn't much depth, but it is engaging and a page-turner.

I'm on the fence as to whether I'll read the rest. Someone on Goodreads said the last book was the best, so...maybe. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
In the far distant future after a catastrophic war, towns and cities have become mobile due to a lack of resources, roaming the Earth in search of prey, i.e. smaller or slower settlements. In London, Historian Apprentice Tom Natsworthy prevents an assassination attempt on Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine but ends up in the Out-Country along with the would-be assassin. Meanwhile Valentine's daughter Katherine enlists the help of Engineer Apprentice Bevis Pod to find out why anyone would want her beloved father dead.

Another reviewer commented that the principal idea of human settlements on tracks or wheels appeared too absurd and prevented them from truly enjoying the book; to me this is exactly the kind of adult closed-mindedness which stops grown-ups from reading (and enjoying) intelligent and thought-provoking children's and YA fiction, and to me the basic concepts seems no more absurd than, for instance, a vampire romance. I thought it owed a lot to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, where humans are accompanied by dæmons, and once you get over the unexpected underlying premise you just need to run with it, and everything else falls into place.

This is children's fiction of the highest order: engaging, exciting, compelling, compulsive, epic in scope, with complex characterisations, and able to generate discussions between the generations; after the breathtaking finale I was feeling quite exhausted. Philip Reeve's vivid prose draws you in and won't let go, and I think this owes a lot to his frequent use of similes, which create images in your mind's eye you won't forget in a hurry. The plot is wildly imaginative and therefore unpredictable, but stays realistic within the narrative frame (even when this means sacrificing a sympathetic character or two), with lots of surprises and plot twists thrown in to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. It addresses such monumental topics as war and the struggle for peace, greed, the lust for power, empathy (and the lack of), love, friendship and common humanity, but the story never becomes sermonic or overbearing. Needless to say I can't recommend this book highly enough, to both children/teenagers and their parents, and I've already started the second volume in the series, Predator's Gold. ( )
  passion4reading | Apr 12, 2017 |
An interesting concept of mobile cities roaming a post-apocalyptic world. The writing is good, but a bit flat. It could be a great movie. ( )
  dougcornelius | Jan 27, 2017 |
I was at the library yesterday. Dissatisfied with the 'new' fiction and nonfiction offerings on display, I began browsing the racks. I learned long ago that adult readers who avoid YA are doing themselves an injustice, so I wandered through that section as well. It's how I found this book. I've discovered that books ostensibly written for young adults can have interesting settings, insightful themes, excellent characters, intricate plots.... Surprisingly, I have found many that were less 'juvenile' than books written for adults (especially those that sacrifice all of the above for graphic violence, sex scenes, and plots that are little more than thin strings tying together a series of fights and explosions). The blurb on the flap of this one showed promise.

It is set on a far future, post-apocalyptic Earth. Many great cities have become mobile, raised up on tracks to roam the land in search of other cities to 'consume'. London is one of these. It's pretty big, but it too can be prey to larger cities. When the minions of London's misguided and ethically challenged mayor discover an ancient super-weapon, a series of events unfold that call into question the limits of self-protection, and what means can be justified to achieve ones' goals.

I won't say I found this a great book. The physical impossibilities and engineering improbabilities of having cities wandering around on wheels and tracks (at up to 100 mph) prevented me from getting into the setting. I don't know if this is supposed to be some kind of metaphor for urban sprawl, but it was just a bit too absurd to easily suspend disbelief. I also wasn't thrilled with the prose style. There are bits in which it switches from past tense to present tense for nor obvious reason. That said, the characters are well-drawn, their motivations make sense, and the story proceeds quite logically to a satisfying conclusion. It kept me reading and I enjoyed it. What more could you want? ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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Philip Reeveprimary authorall editionscalculated
Frankland, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
It's Municipal
Darwinism, where cities on
tracks devour towns.
Powerful children's
fiction that ought to be a
must-read for grown-ups.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060082097, Mass Market Paperback)

London is hunting

The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on. Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.

Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero, Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine, 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 tracks of the city, the sinister plans of London's leaders begin to unfold ...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:20 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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