Thursday, May 12, 2011

Recommendation: 'Mortal engines' by Philip Reeve

Mortal engines by Philip Reeve

It’s the distant future, and the great cities of man no longer exist as we know them. Instead, they have become vast, hungry machines called Traction Cities roaming an otherwise uninhabitable earth, hunting down smaller towns in order to survive.

Tom, a Londoner, is thrown – well, pushed – unwillingly into a perilous adventure when a he foils an assassination attempt on his hero by a horribly disfigured girl called Hester.

As warring factions collide and an ancient weapon threatens to destroy all who stand in its away, you’ll meet the treacherous Thaddeus Valentine, his sweet-natured daughter Katherine, the enigmatic aviatrix Anna Fang, along with a whole cast of other characters, including a terrifying reanimated half-corpse-half-robot killing machine called Shrike.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Mortal engines by Philip Reeve is one gritty story. If you’re as tired of wannabe-Tolkien, cookie-cutter fantasy books as I am, Mortal Engines will come as a refreshing change. If the idea of deviating from the mundane frightens you, then steer well clear of this book. It might just blow your mind.

Philip Reeve doesn’t just present this story to you to read. He invites you to share in the adventure. You’ll be dragged along for the ride and forced to take sides, whether you sympathise with the predatory moving cities and the ruthless engineers that run them, or the anti-traction league, who would rather live peacefully with the land.

Steampunk lovers, or fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy or Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series won’t be able to get enough of Mortal engines. Simple but effectively written with a gripping plot, Mortal engines is a book that will appeal to younger and older teens. There are even rumours floating around that there’s going to be a film made in the foreseeable future... directed by Peter Jackson!

- Harry

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