In my review of Mortal Engines, I mentioned Lowri, my Reeve-obsessed friend who has been demanding I read this for the last three years. I’d read the first book before but read it again in May, in preparation for finally reading this one. It’s only taken me, ooh… three months, but I’ve finally done it. It was mainly because Lowri was threatening to shove her Philip Reeve stick Where The Sun Doth Not Shine if I didn’t read it, but I don’t regret it – it’s a brilliant book.
There was a summary but it didn’t even make sense to me and I’ve read the damn book, so this is my own – Tom and Hester have been travelling in their airship for a while now, and are blissfully happy. Unfortunately, The Green Storm are a radical faction of the Anti-Traction League and recognise Tom and Hester’s airship as belonging to Anna Fang, their old leader. To escape from The Green Storm and their sinister plans, the young couple dock on Anchorage, a traction city commanded by a young ruler who is bent on travelling to the desolate wasteland of America.
It’s a hard book to explain if you don’t have prior knowledge of the world. I think that’s my favourite thing about these books – Philip Reeve has created such a wonderful, complete world that it seems as if such a thing could actually be possible. The cities that we know today have been dramatically altered and now move around the world on wheels and rollers, snapping up smaller, slower towns in their huge jaws. The problem with many books of this type is the lack of explanation behind why the world ended up in such a state, but the author provided such a wonderful backstory in Mortal Engines that I actually feel as though I lived there for a while.
Perhaps that’s why I prefer Predator’s Gold to such an extent. The story here is much more fast-paced with a lot more action because there’s less emphasis on creating and describing the Traction World. I never got bored of the plot at any point and there are some creepy twists that I really didn’t see coming.
I also liked the development of Hester’s character – she has thoughts, feelings and concerns of her own now, and the depth of her love for Tom is obvious. She’s one of the most interesting characters in fiction for me – with her scarred face, grumpy disposition and her upbringing by a Stalker – so it was nice to see her get a back story of her very own.
On the other hand, I found Freya to be a little annoying. She’s the spoilt teenage leader of Anchorage who expects everybody to bow to her insane whims.Tom himself irritated me once or twice too, as he occasionally acted what I thought was very out of character. Still, Hester was as annoyed at him as I was so I guess that’s alright.
I’m surprised Mortal Engines hasn’t been made into a film yet, although I’m nearly sure it will be one day. I do recommend you read these books, because they improve a hell of a lot after the first one. I can’t wait to read the third one because the plot continues after this book – Mortal Engines was a stand-alone, but obviously the third one won’t be.