Book Review: Mortal Engines

Reeve, Philip
2 stars = Meh

In "Mortal Engines", the first book in the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve, Earth is now a dystopian world where cities have become huge, mobile machines that compete for resources. London is the biggest of them all, capturing and destroying smaller cities for personal gain. A young archivist in training (and Londoner) Tom Natsworthy looks up to the leaders of London, particularly a man known as Valentine. But when a mysterious girl sneaks into the city and tries to kill Valentine, things go horribly wrong -- and both Tom and the girl are banished -- and they must find their way back.

This story had great ideas, but slightly poor execution. The overall plot started off really interesting, but as time went on, I felt like so much of it became filler content -- events seemed to just randomly happen for the sake of filling the time until we got to something important. There were also a lot of POVs to keep track of -- and it felt like there were just way too many cooks in the kitchen. In addition, the characters were really hard to root for. Tom complained often (almost to the point of whining). Hester had good moments, but was often too closed off to show a lot of emotion, which hindered character development. These characters could've been more interesting, but their flaws really kept them from developing.

What kept me reading was the world-building. The world in this book is expansive and complex, unlike any I have read about in a long time. It is utterly unique and intriguing, which made me keep reading, despite what I didn't like.

Although there is a movie adaptation of this book, I would recommend reading the book first. Because the book has more time to explain things, it allows for a better understanding of some of the confusing components of the story (in my opinion).

Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Gillian P.