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Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve
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Infernal Devices (2005)

by Philip Reeve

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The 3rd instalment of the YA steampunk series sees the timeline advanced some 16 years or so. Tom and Hester are settled in Anchorage and have a 15 year-old daughter, Wren, who is somewhat bored with life in the now stationary city in an out of the way part of the world. She wants adventures of her own just like her parents must have had before she was born. After another blazing row with her mother when an opportunity presents itself, in the return of the Lost Boys, Wren jumps at the chance to aid them in their quest as long as they agree to take her with them when they leave. The plan to steal the book they need goes off without a hitch but their escape doesn’t progress quite as smoothly. It ends with Wren a hostage aboard the Lost Boys limpet with Tom & Hester determined to go after and rescue her before she comes to any real harm.

The world has changed since they were last abroad though with a long-running war between the Green Storm and the Traction Cities showing no signs of reaching a conclusion any time soon. Some old familiar faces crop up along the way: Pennyroyal has landed on his feet again becoming mayor of the raft resort of Brighton, Stalker Fang still leads the Green Storm and is always on the lookout for new/old weapons to help in the war effort, Stalker Shrike has been somewhat repaired and currently acts as Fang’s bodyguard, Freya and Caul also accompany Tom and Hester in their pursuit of Wren. There are a few new characters to get to know as well.

I’ve enjoyed the previous two books as thrilling adventure romps set in a well built world with characters that grow as events transpiring around them alter their perspectives. It’s the latter of these that is something of a let-down in this book though as Hester has reverted to a blood-thirsty, shoot first and ask questions later kind of girl and Tom is a bit of a wimp who’s just along for the ride. The rest of the characters seem fairly stereotypical for this kind of book. The action and storyline are good enough to keep the reader going and as this is generally regarded as the weakest book in the quartet I will be continuing at some point with the next and final book of the series. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Jul 18, 2014 |
If you like a book with a bit of romance,danger,and violence mixed together you will like this book. ( )
  andrenh | Jun 3, 2014 |
This is the third book in the Mortal Engines series. For a third effort -- its not bad. The characters of Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw (now Natsworthy) are further developed through the storyline's plot. Adding to this particular set of front-line characters are Wren Natsworthy (their daughter), Theo Ngoni, Doctor Zero and Fishcake - one of the Lost Boys. The plot moves along at a very good pace -- providing lots of storylines that appear to fade into an ending -- only to be resurrected at the very end of the book. I'm not going to draw on the plot - leaving that as a surprise for the reader -- but the character development is excellent, the plot development is superb, and the descriptives of the world bring one's imagination to life. Well worth one's time to read - and I'm quite happy to have it as part of my own library. ( )
  TommyElf | Jan 5, 2014 |
The third book of the series once again delivers a weirdly believable tale of the distant future, on an Earth where Cities now roam consuming one another, and few "static" towns are safe from their voracious appetite and the laws of Municipal Darwinism. Set some fifteen years after Predator's Gold, it follows the adventures of Wren Natsworthy, a girl who is bored with her life in Anchorage-in-Vineland, the city which Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw helped to save in the previous book. Hester's troubled persona and ruined face still put her at odds with her once-beloved daughter, and drives Wren to follow Caul, a former Lost Boy, or child thief, when he answers a signal from Gargle, a former compatriot in the Burglarium. Gargle is seeking the Tin Book of Anchorage, a relic copied down thousands of years before in the immediate aftermath of the Sixty-Minute War which contains a powerful secret: activation and control of ODIN, one of the mighty orbital superweapons left behind by the Americans of the period before the War. Against the backdrop of the Anti-Traction League's Green Storm, now led by the revived and Stalkerized Anna Fang, young scientist Oenone Zero has located and revived a specific Twice-Dead Stalker, Grike, Hester's companion from Mortal Engines. Grike suspects Dr Zero of plotting to assassinate the Stalker Fang, but cannot locate her weapon. In the meantime, Wren is discovered to have followed Caul by Gargle, who tricks her into obtaining the Tin Book on promise of taking her away with the Lost Boy crew when she returns with the book. Hester catches wind of Wren's plot but arrives too late to rescue her when she is taken by Fishcake, after Hester murders both Gargle and Remora. Hester, Tom (who is still pained by the old wound where the liar and historian Pennyroyal shot him in the heart), the former Margravine Freya, and Caul set out to rescue Wren, only to find the sunken city of Grimsby has been mortally wounded by the floating pleasure city of Brighton, which has - under Pennyroyal, who is now Mayor - launched a campaign against the Lost Boys. But Wren has been captured and made a slave aboard Brighton, in the clutches of the sinister slaver, Nabisco Shkin. However, Brighton's time is running out, as a spy in their midst has betrayed the location of the Tin Book, which Pennyroyal has taken from Wren, and the Stalker Fang is on her way. This is a rollicking good tale, better paced than Predator's Gold or Mortal Engines, and the most compelling installment yet of the series. Reeve is clearly having fun in his fascinating world, including some at the expense of fellow authors: well-known writer Philip Pullman appears P.P. Bellman, author of atheistic pop-up books for five year-olds. Names are also hugely entertaining, such as the Flying Ferret airships, one in particular being the Visible Panty Line. Equally, Stalker Fang's sinister warship earns a slight tremor of terror with its name: the Requiem Vortex. Great fun, well-written, and I'm looking forward to A Darkling Plain, the final installment, which my son tells me is "sad". ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Dec 10, 2013 |
And now Tom and Hester are all grown up, and living blissfully on Anchorage. But the Lost Boys come back to try and steal the Tin Book, Hester's daughter Wren gets drawn in looking for adventure, and they are about to find themselves in the middle of world affairs again... ( )
  atreic | Mar 7, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Sarah,
as always,

For my editors, Kirsten Stansfield
and Holly Skeet,
with thanks,

And for
Sam Reeve, Tom Skeet, and
Edward Stansfield,
one day.
First words
At first there was nothing. Then came a spark; a sizzling sound that stirred frayed webs of dream and memory.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439963931, Paperback)

Anchorage has become a static settlement on the shores of the Dead Continent, and its inhabitants have been living peacefully for sixteen years. But now trouble is approaching - in a limpet sub, and fast. The Lost Boys are back, and they'll do anything to get what they want. Tom and Hester's daughter Wren is their eager dupe, bored and desperate for adventure. When the theft of the mysterious Tin Book of Anchorage goes wrong, Wren is snatched away in the limpet, who knows where. Tom and Hester set off to rescue her, but this is the end of their quiet life on Anchorage. The journey will stir up old needs, old secrets - and send them back into perilous waters...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:37 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Wren finds herself captive, then enslaved and begins another perilous adventure

» see all 7 descriptions

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