Marion Lloyd Books Scholastic UK
followed by Predator's Gold
From the first line of the novel, I was hooked on this book. The power and mechanical beauty of the cities roaming across the world suggested a world of magnificent imagination; of prey and predator unlike those we have seen before. What was most intriguing, though, was that in the middle of the mayhem of cities hunting down and devouring each other, the main characters could so easily be just delicate creatures, almost overpowered by the story. But that is not the case. Tom Natsworthy, an Apprentice Historian, and Hester Shaw, the capable and resilient girl from Out-Countries who is seeking to return to London and revenge her family, both adapt to their surroundings with assured ease. Whether they face pirates or slavers or Stalkers, you want them to survive and to succeed, because they are likable characters and the friendship they develop is fun to read.
This book has many rich and varied characters; the story is well thought out and organised sensibly and the language the author uses is lively and easy to read, with wonderful visual inventiveness.
A great book. I’ll be reading the whole series.
Les, Canberra, Australia
An inventive and interesting novel, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, is part adventure, part fantasy and also has a little bit of romance. It weaves a barely believable web of coincidence as it follows the not-quite-hero, Thomas Natsworthy, through a town-eat-town world, where cities must travel, or become consumed by their adversaries. He is confronted when he finds himself alone in the 'Outlands', with a scarred and twisted young girl named Hester Shaw, who is convinced that London's, (and Tom's), hero, Thaddeus Valentine, is the scoundrel who killed her parents.
It is an appealing and innovative fantasy, yet I do feel that its intended age group is for younger readers. Older readers may find themselves frustrated by the characters sudden tendency to fall in love, kill people, or die. It has just one too many useful coincidences and pointed hints to feel truly plausible to a reader who is used to being kept guessing to the end, although the ending itself is relatively unexpected.
Overall, the book introduces some interesting ideas and it certainly isn't your run of the mill fantasy. Tom himself is confronted by the differences between the world outside London and the constant brainwashing he has received. Unfortunately, this does occasionally leave the reader a little unsure of where his loyalties lie, although he doesn't always seem to know either.
Sophie, age 17, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
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