Word Nerd Review: Mortal Engines – Philip Reeve

Word Nerd Review: Mortal Engines – Philip Reeve
by Trisha Quezada

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Amidst the arguments Bryan and my husband had about the movie version of Ready Player One, we got to talking about the upcoming movie version of Mortal Engines. I tend to be a purist about movie adaptations of books so I typically don’t see them, but after seeing the trailer I got curious about Mortal Engines and picked up the book to see what it was all about.

Many years post an apocalypse in the 21st century, in a time when the key cultural components of today’s society are fodder for the archaeologists and historians of the world, cities are mobile and the governmental structure of the world is Municipal Darwinism in which these Traction Cities eat each other and the largest and strongest survive. And London is starving. The prey cities have been mostly wiped out, the hunting ground is full of mega cities, and it has to find a way to survive.

Poor Tom Natsworthy, apprentice historian third class, has no idea what he’s getting into when he goes to help his idol, the famed historian Thaddeus Valentine, with a project down in the Gut of the city. He ends up pushed off the city with Hester, a mysterious girl with a vendetta against Valentine, and he has to find a way to survive and get back to London.

It’s really a great melding of an adventure story and coming of age novel. There’s action and near death experiences, but also quite a bit of character growth for both Tom and Hester. Reeve does a really good job of keeping the story going and even while Tome and Hester are evaluating their assumptions about life. None of it comes across as preachy and the momentum of the story doesn’t get bogged down. All in all, it was a really fun read. And I think it’s an ideal candidate for a movie – I might even go see this one!

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