An Audit of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve!
Greetings fellow Geeks, Freaks, and Nerds! Today I bring a book to the table that the famed Peter Jackson of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit has signed on to do a movie after. Yes, that Peter Jackson! I’m a huge fan of all of his movies, even the 1996 move The Frighteners. I have your attention now? Ok, down the rabbit hole we go!
First, let’s begin with the publishers summary……
“The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.
Thaddeus Valentine, London’s Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. “Look at what your Valentine did to me!” she screams. “Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!” And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.
In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism — and betrayal.”
I hadn’t heard of this one until I saw the teaser trailer for the movie actually, but once I saw the trailer and saw that Peter Jackson was in charge of it I was hooked.
The book is based here on Earth in the very far future after what appears to be a nuclear war and the planet is just decimated after what is also called the “60 minute war”. This whole dystopian era is, in my opinion, difficult for most writers to write in. Not many authors can really pull it off correctly. Reeve does a great job in world building in this one. The descriptions of the ruined lands and their inhabitants is great. He did a great job in making me believe that this very well could be a possible future, and everything is very steam punkish (which I’ve been drawn to recently).
This concept of massive cities (like London) rolling along the ground on these gigantic caterpillar tracks is phenomenal and scary all at once. All these massive cities are doing is hunting for smaller cities to survive, which is the book is called “Municipal Darwinism”. These cities or pirate towns try to catch up to the smaller cities, grapple onto them and pull them into their bellies so that they can be broken down for their resources. The prisoners are either killed or turned into slaves. It’s quite intense at times and of course the bigger a city gets the more resources it consumes which means the more smaller cities it has to find and consume. Some cities find places to hide in the hills to conserve their resources and to also not be attack by other cities. The world has become a town eat town kinda place.
The major players or the “Dramatis Personae” are comprised of; Tom Natsworthy – a teenage Apprentice Historian, Hester Shaw – a teenage scavenger and anti-tractionist, Thaddeus Valentine – Top archeologist and historian for London, Anna Fang – Asian aviatrix and Anti-Tractionist spy, and lots of other very interesting folks that I believe should be experienced in reading this book.
This book is in the Young Adult readers category and it certainly fits in their perfectly. This story has a lot of drama, betrayal, action, great detail, pirates, robots/zombies (yes, they’re a little of both), airships, airship cities, and so much more originality.
The writing style is a bit odd, I ‘m not sure how to describe it either. It certainly bugged me throughout the book, but I was able to soldier on and deal with it.
I loved the complexity of some of the main characters, it made them more human and believable. On the flip side of that coin, some of the other characters were also far too generic at times.
This is a must read, I really enjoyed it. It’s not a huge success in my eyes, even though it did win awards, but it did pull me in and want more which not all books can do that. I definitely looking forward to what Peter Jackson does with it in terms of screenplay for his movie.
You can check out the trailer for the movie HERE!
Let me know what you think if you’ve read the book, let’s discuss!