uring a family vacation down in Madeira Beech, I happened to find a supper-massive used bookstore (Haslam’s Book Store). While stuffing loot into my bag, I came across the YA Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve. Looked interesting so I picked up the first four from the five part series.
Good for me.
Mortal Engines is a book set in the far future (after the Sixty Minutes war). This war was so intense that it shook the very planet’s tectonic plates together. Cities of survivors, in danger because their locations were known to those who would prey on them, decided to pull up stakes and go mobile. These “traction cities” are massive affairs, gigantic platforms atop large tank treads, rolling along and attempting to find smaller cities to run down and gobble up (I love the term “Municipal Darwinism”).
So into this situations lands young Tom Natsworthy, an apprentice with the London Museum inside the rolling horror-show that London has become. In an effort to ward off an assassination attempt by a horribly-scared woman against the city’s hero, Tom finds himself thrown overboard (by that hero – how can that be?) and forced to stumble along in the muddy tracks that criss-cross our blighted world.
I really have to say I enjoyed this tale. Sure, it’s pretty much like most YA’s, long on cool visuals and short on specifics (and there are airships floating all about the place, of course), but I did love it. The scene would shift from the macabre mechanized London to the muddy wastes to the deck of a pirate airship to a floating city of a city build on a wall that covers the last pass into the untouched East. Yeah, it was really fun and went down easy. Worth a read.
A note on the book I had – the printers cut the inner margins a little tight so I had a bit of an effort to read the left page. Hopefully this was just a localized glitch.
And a note on the movie – yes, they actually put this crazy story on film in 2018. Sadly, it was a massive box office bomb, terrifying in how badly it did. But curious, I picked up my own copy and really liked it. Sure, they kinda junked the end and stole from StarWars and the characters were hardly developed at all but it was still fun to watch.
Looking forward to going after the next book of the set.