Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles Series #1)

Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles Series #1)

4.6 26
by Philip Reeve
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

London is hunting

The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on. Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.

Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero,

See more details below

Overview

London is hunting

The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on. Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.

Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero, Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine, from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw — only to find himself thrown from the city and stranded with Hester in the Out Country. As they struggle to follow the tracks of the city, the sinister plans of London's leaders begin to unfold ...

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book magazine
“Reeve will soon be the go-to man for imagination, excitement, and crowd-pleasing action.”
The Washington Post
In Mortal Engines, [Reeve] has given readers of all ages an alternative world so richly, vigorously and wittily imagined that it lingers in the mind long after its supposed lessons have faded. — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
In a dystopian future landscape, cities have uprooted themselves and donned wheels, consuming each other's resources. "Reeve's prose is sweeping and cinematic," PW said in a starred review. "He deftly weaves in social commentary on the perils of both war and consumerism." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2003: The opening line of this SF novel sets the stage beautifully: "It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea." It's "town-eat-town" (also known as "Municipal Darwinism") in this bleak future world, as cities on the move hunt down other cities to loot. Orphaned Tom, age 15, is a lowly Apprentice Historian (Third Class) who lives in London as it roars around on huge caterpillar tracks. His idol is the Head Historian and famous archeologist, Thaddeus Valentine; it doesn't hurt that Valentine has a beautiful young daughter, Katherine. When a strange, scarred girl named Hester shows up and tries to stab Valentine, Tom tries to save him—only to have Valentine unexpectedly fling both of them off the moving city onto the ravaged bare earth. And so Tom's adventure begins, as he and Hester search for London and for Valentine, her reason for seeking vengeance is revealed, and they encounter a kind aviatrix who is really an agent for the Anti-Traction League, a pirate suburb, and a dreadful Stalker, part-man, part-machine. Meanwhile, Katherine and a helpful young engineer do some dangerous investigating aboard London as it seeks to conquer the planet with a terrifying weapon. This wildly imaginative British tale is full of marvelous details (e.g., "Neuvo-Mayan Battle Frisbee"), humor, and grand adventures. There are echoes of the Star Wars sagas and Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as old-fashioned pirate tales. It all adds up to a wonderful if rather violent read; there are some grisly deaths. Fans of Philip Pullman's workwill love this, as will all SF and fantasy readers. (An ALA Best Book for YAs) (The Hungry City Chronicles). KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, HarperCollins, 373p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
"It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea." From this intriguing opening line to its explosive ending, this fast-paced post-apocalypse science fiction is one wild ride. Most of the world was destroyed in the Sixty Minute War, and now towns and cities move around on tractor treads capturing and devouring each other. Tom has just been pushed down the London garbage chute and is left behind with a disfigured and vengeful girl as their city scurries over the horizon. Reeve takes his original idea and creates a very believable world where the action never lags. This may be what Pullman fans are waiting for. First in "The Hungry City Chronicles." 2003, EOS/HarperCollins, Ages 12 up.
— Beth Guldseth
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-In this futuristic page-turner, a vast, multitiered London on wheels forages the landscape and consumes smaller communities. Two young people are jettisoned from the city and must unravel a mystery to discover a deadly weapon about to be unleashed. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Reeve thinks big in this British prizewinner, envisioning a distant future in which immense mobile cities roar over continent-sized wastelands, preying on each other. Thanks to ruthless scavenger Thaddeus Valentine, London has acquired an ancient energy weapon powerful enough to overwhelm the well-defended but stationary cities of former Asia. To lowly apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy, Valentine is a hero; Tom begins to find out differently after meeting Hester Shaw, a savagely mutilated young woman who saw Valentine murder her parents for the device. Ejected from the city as it barrels eastward, Tom and Hester encounter pirates and unexpected allies, battle an ancient cyborg warrior, and get an eye-opening look at their diverse world as they struggle to catch up. Running up the body count to staggering dimensions, the author propels his protagonists to a cataclysmic climax, folding in both instances of casual, inhuman brutality and satiric comments about "urban Darwinism." With the exception of that cyborg, the characters and societies are as uncomplicated here as the moral issues; readers who enjoy violent, titanic clashes between good and evil will be absorbed from beginning to end. First of a projected trilogy. (Fiction. 12-15)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060082093
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/14/2004
Series:
Hungry City Chronicles Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >