Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles Series #1)

Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles Series #1)

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by Philip Reeve
     
 

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1

Decision

The lookout pointed.

"Boat dead ahead!"

Amos Trask, Admiral of the Prince's fleet of the Kingdom Navy, shouted, "What?"

The harbor pilot who stood beside the Admiral, guiding the Prince of Krondor's flagship, the Royal Dragon, toward the palace docks, shouted to his assistant at the bow, "Wave them off!"

The

Overview

1

Decision

The lookout pointed.

"Boat dead ahead!"

Amos Trask, Admiral of the Prince's fleet of the Kingdom Navy, shouted, "What?"

The harbor pilot who stood beside the Admiral, guiding the Prince of Krondor's flagship, the Royal Dragon, toward the palace docks, shouted to his assistant at the bow, "Wave them off!"

The assistant pilot, a sour-looking young man, shouted back, "They fly the royal ensign!"

Amos Trask unceremoniously pushed past the pilot. Still a barrel-chested, bull-necked man at past sixty years of age, he hurried toward the bow with the sure step of a man who'd spent most of his life at sea. After sailing Prince Arutha's flagship in and out of Krondor for nearly twenty years, he could dock her blindfolded, but custom required the presence of the harbor pilot. Amos disliked turning over command of his ship to anyone, least of all an officious and not very personable member of the Royal Harbormaster's staff. Amos suspected that the second requirement for a position in that office was an objectionable personality. The first seemed to be marriage to one of the Harbormaster's numerous sisters or daughters.

Amos reached the bow and looked ahead. His dark eyes narrowed as he observed the scene unfolding below. As the ship glided toward the quay, a small sailing boat, no more than fifteen feet in length, attempted to dart into the opening ahead of it. Clumsily tied to the top of the mast was a pennant, a small version of the Prince of Krondor's naval ensign. Two young men frantically worked the sails and tiller, one attempting to hold as strong a line to the dock as possible while the other furled a jib. Both laughed at the impromptu race.

"Nicholas!" shouted Amos, as the boy lowering the jib waved at him. "You idiot! We're cutting your wind! Turn about!" The boy at the helm turned to look at Amos and threw him an impudent grin. "I should have known," said Amos to the assistant pilot. To the grinning boy, Amos shouted, "Harry! You lunatic!" Glancing back, seeing the last of the sails reefed, Amos observed, "We're coasting to the docks, we don't have room to turn if we wanted to, and we certainly can't stop."

All ships coming into Krondor dropped anchor in the middle of the harbor, waiting for longboats to tow them to the docks. Amos was the only man with rank enough to intimidate the harbor pilot into allowing him to drop sail at the proper moment and coast into the docks. He took pride in always reaching the proper place for the land lines to be thrown out and in having never crashed the docks or required a tow. He had coasted into his slip a hundred times in twenty years, but never before with a pair of insane boys playing games in front of the ship. Looking forward at the small boat, which was now slowing even more rapidly, Amos said, "Tell me, Lawrence, how does it feel to be the man on the bow when you drown the Prince of Krondor's youngest son?"

Color drained from the assistant pilot's face as he turned toward the small boat. In a high-pitched voice he began shrieking at the boys to get out of the way.

Turning his back on the scene below, Amos shook his head as he leaned back against the railing. He ran his hand over his nearly bald pate, the grey hair around it—once dark and curly—now tied back behind his head in a sailor's knot. After a moment attempting to ignore what they were doing, Amos gave in. He turned around, leaning forward and to the right so he could see past the bowsprit. Below, Nicholas was leaning into the oar, one leg braced firmly against the base of the mast, the oar firmly planted against the bow of the ship. He looked terrified. Amos could hear Nicholas shout, "Harry! You'd better turn to port!"

Amos nodded in silent agreement, for if Harry pulled hard to port, the small sailboat would swing wide of the lumbering ship, getting banged around, perhaps swamped, but at least the boys would be alive. If they drifted suddenly to starboard, the boat would quickly be ground between the ship's hull and the approaching pilings of the dock.

Lawrence, the assistant pilot, said, "The Prince is fending us off."

"Ha!" Amos shook his head. "Letting us push them into the dock, you mean." Cupping his hands around his mouth, Amos shouted, "Harry! Hard aport!"

The young squire only yelled a maniacal war whoop in answer as he struggled with the tiller, to keep the boat centered upon the ship's bow.

"Like balancing a ball on a sword point." Amos sighed. He could tell by the speed of the ship and its location that it was time to ready the lines. He turned his back on the boys once more.

From below came the sounds of Harry whooping and yelling in exultation as the fast-moving ship pushed the small boat along. Lawrence said, "The Prince is holding the boat in front. He's struggling, but he's doing it."

Amos called, "Ready bowlines! Ready stern lines!" Sailors near the bow and stern readied lines to throw to dockmen waiting below.

"Admiral!" said Lawrence in excited tones.

Amos closed his eyes. "I don't want to hear it."

"Admiral! They've lost control! They're veering to starboard!"

Amos said, "I said I didn't want to hear it." He turned toward the assistant pilot, who stood with a panic-stricken expression on his face as the sounds of the small boat being crushed between the ship and the dock grated on their ears. The cracking of wood and tearing of planks were accompanied by shouts from the men on the dock.

The assistant pilot said, "It wasn't my fault."

An unfriendly smile split Amos's silver and grey beard as he said, "I'll testify to that at your trial. Now order the lines, or you'll smash us against the wharf." Seeing the remark didn't register on the shocked man, Amos shouted, "Secure the bowlines!"

A second later the pilot called for the stern lines to be secured, and these were tossed to those waiting below. The ship had lost almost all its forward movement and, when the lines went taut, stopped altogether. Amos shouted, "Secure all lines! Run out the gangplank!"

Turning toward the dock, he peered down into the churning water between the ship and the dock. Seeing bubbles amid the floating wood, line, and sail, he yelled to the dock gang, "Lower a rope there to those two idiots swimming beneath the dock before they drown!"

By the time Amos was off the ship, the two wet youngsters had climbed up to the dock. Amos came to where they stood and regarded the soaked pair.

Nicholas, the youngest son of the Prince of Krondor, stood with his weight shifted slightly to the right. His left boot had a raised heel to compensate for the deformed foot he'd possessed since birth. Otherwise Nicholas was a well-made, slender boy of seventeen. He resembled his father, having angular features and dark hair, but he lacked Prince Arutha's intensity, though he rivaled him in quickness. He had his mother's quiet nature and gentle manner, which somehow made his eyes look different from his father's, though they were the same dark brown. At the moment he looked thoroughly embarrassed.

His companion was another matter. Henry, known to the court as Harry because his father, the Earl of Ludland, was also named Henry, grinned as if he hadn't been the butt of the joke. The same age as Nicholas, he was a half-head taller, had curly red hair and a ruddy face, and was considered handsome by most of the younger court ladies. He was a playful youngster who often let his adventuresome nature get the better of him, and from time to time his sense of fun took him beyond the limits of good judgment. Most of the time, Nicholas traveled beyond that border with him. Harry ran a hand through his wet hair and laughed.

"What's so funny?" asked Amos.

"Sorry about the boat, Admiral," answered the Squire, "but if you could have seen the assistant pilot's face . . ."

Amos frowned at the two youngsters, then couldn't hold in his own laughter. "I did. It was a sight to behold." He threw wide his arms and Nicholas gave him a rough hug.

"Glad you're back, Amos. Sorry you missed the Midsummer's Feast."

Pushing the Prince away with exaggerated distaste, Amos said, "Bah! You're all wet. Now I'm going to have to go change before I meet with your father."

The three began walking toward the wharf next to the palace. "What news?" asked Nicholas.

"Things are quiet. Trading ships from the Far Coast, Kesh, and Queg, and the usual traffic from the Free Cities. It's been a peaceful year."

Harry said, "We were hoping for some rousing tales of adventure." His tone was slightly mocking.

Amos playfully smacked him in the back of the head with the flat of his hand. "I'll give you adventure, you maniac. What did you think you were doing?"

Harry rubbed at the back of his head and attempted an aggrieved expression. "We had right-of-way."

"Right-of-way!" said Amos, halting in disbelief. "In the open harbor, perhaps, with ample room to turn, but 'right-of-way' doesn't halt a three-masted warship bearing down on you with no place to turn and no way to stop." He shook his head as he resumed walking toward the palace. "Right-of-way indeed." Looking at Nicholas, he said, "What were you doing out on the bay this time of day? I thought you had studies."

"Prelate Graham is in conference with Father," answered Nicholas. "So we went fishing."

"Catch anything?"

Harry grinned. "The biggest fish you've ever seen, Admiral."

"Now that it's back in the bay, it's the biggest, you mean," answered Amos with a laugh.

Nicholas said, "We didn't catch anything worth talking about."

Amos said, "Well, run along and change into something less damp. I'm going to refresh myself, then call upon your father."

"Will you be at dinner?" asked the young Prince.

"I expect."

"Good; Grandmother is in Krondor."

Amos brightened at that news. "Then I will most certainly be there."

Nicholas gave Amos a crooked half-smile that was the image of his father's and said, "I doubt anyone thinks it coincidence that she chose to visit Mother just in time to be here for your return."

Amos only grinned. "It's my boundless charm." With a playful slap to the heads of both boys, he said, "Now go! I must report to Duke Geoffrey, then I'm off to my quarters to change into something more fitting for dinner with . . . your father." He winked at Nicholas and strode off, whistling a nameless tune.

Nicholas and Harry hurried along, stockings squishing in their boots, toward the Prince's quarters. Harry had a small room near Nicholas's, as he was officially Prince Nicholas's Squire.

The Prince's palace in Krondor rested hard against the bay, having in ancient times been the defensive bastion of the Kingdom on the Bitter Sea. The royal docks were separated from the rest of the harbor by an area of open shoreline that was contained within the walls of the palace. Nicholas and Harry cut across the open expanse of beach and approached the palace from the water.

The palace rose majestically atop a hill, outlined against the afternoon sky, a sprawling series of apartments and halls grafted around the original keep, which still served as the heart of the complex. Dwarfed by several other towers and spires added over the last few centuries, the old keep still commanded the eye, a brooding reminder of days gone by, when the world was a far more dangerous place.

Nicholas and Harry pushed open an old metal gate, which provided access to the harbor for those who worked in the kitchen. The pungency of the harbor, with its smells of fish, brine, and tar, gave way to more appetizing aromas as they neared the kitchen. The boys hurried down past the washhouse and the bakehouse, through a small vegetable garden, and down a low flight of stone stairs, moving among servants' huts.

They approached the servants' entrance to the royal family's private apartments, not wishing a chance encounter with any of Prince Arutha's staff or, more to the point, with the Prince himself.

Reaching the doors used by the serving staff closest to their own rooms, Nicholas opened it just as a pair of the palace serving girls approached from within carrying bundles of linens bound for the washhouse behind the palace. He stood aside, though his rank gave him precedence, out of respect for their heavy loads. Harry gave both the girls, only a few years older than himself, his version of a rakish grin. One giggled and the other fixed him with a look appropriate to finding a rodent in the larder.

As the young women hurried off, conscious of their impact on the two adolescent boys, Harry grinned and said, "She wants me."

Nicholas gave him a hard push that sent him stumbling through the door, saying, "Just about as much as I want the belly flux. Keep dreaming."

Hurrying up the stairs to the family's quarters, Harry said, "No, she does. She hides it, but I can tell."

Nicholas said, "Harry the lady's man. Lock up your daughters, Krondor."

After the bright afternoon sunlight, the hallway was positively gloomy. At the end of the hall, they turned up stairs that took them out of the servants' area to the apartments of the royal family. At the top of the stairs, they opened the door and peeked through. Seeing no one of rank, the two boys hurried to their respective doors, located haflway down the hall from the servants' door. Between this door and his own a mirror hung, and, catching his own reflection, Nicholas said, "It's a good thing Father didn't see us."

Nicholas entered his own quarters, a large pair of rooms, with enormous closets and a private garderobe, so he dind't have to leave the room to relieve himself. He quickly stripped off his wet clothing and dried himself. He turned and caught sight of himself in a large mirror, a luxury of immense value, as it was fashioned from silvered glass imported from Kesh. His body—that of a boy on the way to becoming a man—showed a broadening chest and shoulders; he had a man's growth of body hair, as well as a need to shave daily. But his face was still a boy's, lacking the set of features that only time can give.

As he finished drying, he looked at his left foot as he had every day of his life. A ball of flesh, with tiny protuberances that should have been toes, extended from the base of an otherwise well-formed left leg. The foot had been the object of medicine and magic since his birth, but had resisted all attempts at healing. No less sensitive to touch and sensation as the right foot, it nevertheless was difficult for Nicholas to command; the muscles were connected incorrectly to bones the wrong size to perform the tasks nature intended. Like most people with a lifetime affliction, Nicholas had compensated to the point of rarely being aware of it. He walked with only a slight limp. He was an excellent swordsman, perhaps the equal of his father, who was counted the best in the Western Realm. The Palace Swordmaster judged him as already a better swordsman than his two elder brothers were at his age. He could dance, as required by his office—son of the ruler of the Western Realm—but the one thing that he could not compensate for was a terrible feeling that he was somehow less than he should be.

Nicholas was a soft-spoken, reflective youngster who preferred the quiet solitude of his father's library to the more boisterous activities of most boys his age. He was an excellent swimmer, a fine horseman, and a fair archer in addition to being skilled at swordplay, but all his life he had felt deficient. A vague sense of failure, and a haunting guilt, seemed to fill him unexpectedly, and often he would find his mind seized by dark brooding. With company, he was often merry and enjoyed a joke as well as the next boy, but if left alone, Nicholas found his mind seized by worry. That had been one reason Harry had come to Krondor.

As he dressed, Nicholas shook his head in amusement. His companion for the last year, Squire Harry had provided an abrupt change to Nicholas's solitary ways, forever dragging the Prince off on some foolish enterprise or another. Life for Nicholas had become far more exciting since the arrival of the middle son of the Earl of Ludland. Given his rank and two competitive brothers, Harry was combative and expected to be obeyed, barely observing the difference in rank between himself and Nicholas. Only a pointed order would remind Harry that Nicholas wasn't a younger brother to command. Given Harry's domineering ways, the Prince's court was probably the only place his father could have sent him to have his nature tempered before he became a regular tyrant.

Nicholas brushed out his wet, neck-length hair, cut in imitation of his father's. Alternately drying it with a towel, then brushing it, he got it to some semblance of respectability. He envied Harry his red curls, hugging his head. A quick toweling and a brush, then off he went.

Nicholas judged himself as presentable as he was likely to make himself under the circumstances, and left his room. He entered the hall to discover Harry already dressed and ready, attempting to delay another serving woman, this one several years his senior, as she was bound upon some errand or another.

Harry was dressed in the green and brown garb of a palace squire, which in theory made him part of the Royal Steward's staff, but within weeks of his arrival he had been singled out to be Nicholas's companion. Nicholas's two older brothers, Borric and Erland, had been sent to the King's court at Rillanon five years before, to prepare for the day Borric would inherit the crown of the Isles from his uncle. King Lyam's only son had drowned fifteen years earlier, and Arutha and the King had decided that should Arutha survive his older brother, Borric would rule. Nicholas's sister, Elena, was recently married to the eldest son of the Duke of Ran, leaving the palace fairly empty of companions of suitable rank for the young Prince before Harry was sent into service by his father.

Clearing his throat loudly, Nicholas commanded Harry's attention long enough for the serving woman to make her getaway. She gave the Prince a courteous bow coupled with a grateful smile as she hurried off.

Nicholas watched her flee and said, "Harry, you've got to stop using your position to annoy the serving women."

"She wasn't annoyed—" began Harry.

"That wasn't an opinion," said Nicholas sternly.

He rarely used his rank to command Harry about anything, but on those rare occasions he did, Harry knew better than to argue—especially when his tone sounded like Prince Arutha's, a sure sign that Nicholas wasn't joking. The Squire shrugged. "Well, we have an hour to supper. What shall we do?"

"Spend the time working on our story, I should think."

Harry said, "What story?"

"To give to Papa to explain why my boat is now floating across half the harbor."

Harry looked at Nicholas with a confident smile and said, "I'll think of something."

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
Set in the fantasy world of Midkemia, Feist's popular fantasy saga enters its second generation as an inexperienced prince faces dark magics as ``the king's buccaneer.'' Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/92. Commemorating the tenth anniversary of its first publication, the expanded volume of Magician presents the definitive version of the story that launched the novels of the Riftwar.
KLIATT
Worrying that his 17-year-old son, Nicholas, who has been sheltered because of his lame foot and gentle nature, is too hesitant to ever command, Prince Arutha sends the boy to his uncle Duke Martin's court in Crydee for seasoning. Nicholas expects to be disciplined but is unprepared both for his role as his uncle's squire and for his cousin Marcus' overt animosity. The only bright spot in the rigorous training is the visiting Abigail, who unfortunately attracts both cousins and increases their competition. While the duke and the two boys are on a hunting trip, a band of pirates attacks the castle, ruthlessly razing the surrounding town, killing the duchess, and kidnapping Abigail and Marcus' sister, Margaret. Nicholas joins in their pursuit and is forced into command when the men in charge of the rescue are injured, some mortally. More vulnerable than his elder brothers, Borris and Erland, in "Prince of Blood" (1989), Nicholas must conquer fear and self-doubt before he can triumph over the evil sweeping the country. Feist ably weaves swashbuckling adventure, appealing characters, and intriguing plot complications into a satisfying tale.
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

Long recovered from the ravages of the Riftwar, the land and people of the kingdom of the Isles thrive. Nicholas, the youngest son of Prince Arutha, is intelligent and gifted but vastly inexperienced. In hopes of hardening him, his father sends him and his irreverent squire, Harry, to live at Rustic Castle Crydee to learn of life beyond the halls of privilege. But within weeks of Nicholas and Harry's arrival, Crydee is viciously attacked by unknown assailants, resulting in murder, massive destruction, and the abduction of two young noblewomen. The raiders have come from a pirate haven and are no ordinary foe ... but an enemy connected to dark magical forces that threaten the lands Nicholas will someday rule — if he survives.

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

Meet the Author

Philip Reevewas born in Brighton, England. Inspired by the Asterix and Tintin books he loved as a boy, he became a cartoonist and, many years later, the illustrator of several highly successful children's book series in the United Kingdom. He has been writing since he was five, but mortal engines, the first book in the Hungry City Chronicles, was his first published novel. He has since followed that with Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and the Victorian space opera Larklight. Mr. Reeve lives on Dartmoor with his wife, Sarah, and their son, Samuel.

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Mortal Engines (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's hard to put into words how good I think this book really is. I guess the best was to describe it is by saying the acknowledgements, in which Reeve said that the book may have ended up as 'neatly typed kindling' made me wince. This book is the perfect mix of anything and everything that makes a cool book: vivid and color world, incredible imagination, unforgettable characters, a heart pumping climax, unpredictablity, and originality, something that many books nowadays lack. I strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone that wants to read an incredible book that has no plot holes and takes no shortcuts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, on book two now. . .But whats with all the exclamation points? Really gets annoying, its like everyone is always yelling. Im reading this after Hunger Games, Legend, Divergent and the Maze Runner, it falls right in the same line as being as entertaining and leaving you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book from start to finish, read as part of a children's literature course, i am 45 and loved it and getting the rest of the series. You can really see where society has gone wrong and its faults and what things could even be like in the future. Its fantasy but has portrayals of realism running through it. Can't wait to read the next one and would strongly recommend :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book! All I wish is that they had at least one illustration, showing what the cities look like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing. Unlike every other book, where you know that the main characters will survive in the end, Mortal Engienes is much less predictable. Phillip Reeve's writing is suspenseful and thrilling, leaving readers wondering who will survive when everything is over
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PlumPudding More than 1 year ago
Mortal Engines was a very enjoyable book. It took me a bit to get into the story, but it held my interest till the end. I did have a slight problem with the matter of tense, though. It jumped back and forth from present to past tense, and although it was nicely separated by breaks, the whole concept of them seemed without a purpose. An exception is placing Grike's POV in present tense, as opposed to the past tense that most of the book is placed in, and this is because Grike is such a singular character, human and yet not human. It worked for me. But later on, other characters' POVs suddenly switched to present tense as well, without reason (at least it seemed to me to be without reason; I may just be oblivious). Rather than creating a special effect, the switching tense distracted me from the action and the immediacy of the story. Also distracting was the use of "you." As in, "You wouldn't guess it, but . . . ." It really took me out. As with the repetition of words. I believe there was one passage that went something like "As the burning ship fell, people burning inside . . ." It also seemed as though some of the drama and intense parts were very unnecessary . . . mainly just there to create drama and intensity. My main problem with this is the death of Bevis, who was a wonderful character (whom I wish was fleshed out more; more often than not, Reeve plants his characterization in people's perception of the character, instead of the audience getting to experience his quirks/flaws/personality themselves. But anyways, this review is getting lengthy as is, I'll drop this point for now). Why did Bevis have to die? I'm not sure I understand the purpose, other than to create needless drama that didn't change anything in the plot or any characters' decisions. It could be an easy out to kill him rather than find an ending for him after Katherine's death (which was VERY important and pivotal, and one I enjoyed . . . in a very non-sadistic way, of course). Okay, I'm returning to characterization just briefly. Reeve's infatuation with writing about someone's beauty rubbed me the wrong way. I thought it was just Tom's flaw at first, him wondering if the assassin was beautiful as he was chasing her, his huge reaction towards Katherine's beauty, his equally large reaction to Hester's ugliness, and so forth. But this continued with other characters, and it bothered me after a while. I realize I'm being very critical, because overall this book was very enjoyable to read and I'm going to run to the library tomorrow to check out the second. Reeve writing is overall nothing spectacular, but he does have some very glittering passages that tore into my heart. Especially the last bit. It helped me overall understand the story and it made it complete. It might actually be my favorite ending line I've ever read of any book: "You aren't a hero, and I'm not beautiful, and we probably won't live happily ever after," she said. "But we're alive, and together, and we're going to be all right." Beauty and perfection right there, at least to me. He had GLORIOUS passages like this that just made me shiver.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J3v0n More than 1 year ago
Meet Tom and Hester who were recently ejected from the Mobile City London and are trying to get back on board. For Tom, London is the only life he knows. For Hester, she's obsess with getting revenge on Tom's idol, Valentine. As the story unfolds the concept of Municipal Darwinism (survival of the fittest city) is explained, Valentine's crime that left Hester disfigured is revealed, and London's secret weapon - MEDUSA- that not only threatens other Mobile Cities but people who are trying to rebuild a normal life that doesn't involve cannibalizing other cities, is unveiled. I couldn't make up my mind who I liked more, Tom or Hester. Persons reading this can identify with Tom's struggle to re-evaluate his beliefs in deciding what's good and bad after experiencing life from another perspective. Hester's mental walls gradually erode as emotions that were presume to disappear after Valentine scarred her come bubbling to the surface as she slowly takes a fancy to Tom. The supporting cast are brilliant like the charismatic public figure, Valentine, who habors a dark secret; the aviatrix, Anna Fang, who wants to stop Municipal Darwinism; the marauding pirate, Peavey, who wants to learn posh manners like a London Gentleman; or the soulless Stalker, Grike, who'll do anything to obtain his heart's desire. This was a great book with no slow parts. And as a bonus there were no Hollywood Celebs spewing racist or anti-semitic comments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
helloamericaimawsome More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing. this post apocilipt book was great. i would recommend this book to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The world changed after the Sixty Minute War. North America was made inhabitable, cities were put on wheels, cities attacked each other, recycled each other, two leagues were formed, the Tractionist, the people who lived in cities, and the Anti-Tractionist who lived on the bear earth. London is finally coming out of the mountains to the Hunting Ground. It has been there for many generations, surviving only off of static settlements. On it lays a class three historian named Tom. Tom¿s parents were killed during the Great Tilt, when London tilted on its side and many people were crushed by falling objects, when Tom was a little boy. On the first suburb London caught on the Hunting Ground, Tom was looking for artifacts with his idle, also the lead historian, Valentine. After they were finished, Valentine and Tom went over to the refugees to see if they captured anyone important, but then a knife was drawn. The main thing I liked about the book was also the main thing I disliked about the book. The thing is, it¿s almost impossible to put down. Everything in it is exciting and interesting. If you were going to read it for ten minutes, you would end up reading it for twenty minutes, so you might not get your homework done in study hall. The only criticism I have on this book, is that you have to visualize almost all of the cities and vehicles, because if you look at the hardback cover you can see how they are indescribable. This book is one of four in The Hungry City Chronicles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was soooo great, I'm normally not the science fictiony type, but I loved this!!!! You will not be let down!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the future of Traction Cities (huge cities piled up on huge caterpillar tracks) eating other Traction Cities, a boy named Tom lives on the first Traction City, London, as a Third Class Apprentice, a really bad position to be in, to a historian. It all begins the night that London caught a small salt mining city, Salthook, and destroyed it for its resources. That night Tom and his hero/role model Thaddeus Valentine went to the bottom of the city to see what London got then came a girl that tried to kill Valentine, later running deeper into the city. Tom funs after her and then the girl falls out of the city, and tom along with her. They end up in the Outcountry, a place ruined by traction cities and where the Anti-Traction League lives and that is when the adventure begins. I really liked the book a lot, for futuristic setting, the characters, the technology, the betrayal, and the creative ideas that Philip Reeve came up with. I didn¿t have too many dislikes, but I didn¿t like parts when it would get boring very little would it do it and if I would have been a tree lover I wouldn¿t have liked it. This book is part of the series ¿The Hungry Chronicles¿. Some similar books are Predators Gold, anything really futuristic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The future is something I always like to picture. Well in this book you don¿t have to picture the future. Mortal Engines takes place in the future, year of 2100. This book has mine boggling ideas about how the future is going to turn out. The author of this book is Philip Reeve and he is a well known author. His staggering ideas will fill you mine with amazement. I can¿t relate this book to anything but I can tell you if you like die hard excitement books, READ THIS!! This book is about this boy named Tom. Tom is an Apprentice Engineer for London, which is a traction city. Traction cities are cities of the future. They roll on huge wheels, just imagine your city on wheels going hundreds mph. Well Tom meets a man named Mr. Valentine and his daughter Katherine. Mr. Valentine was very famous for finding Medusa. Medusa is a huge gun that can destroy any traction city rolling. Mr. Valentine didn¿t find it he stole it from Hester mom, and killed both of there parents in the process. Hester got away with only a huge slash mark across her face. Hester is hunting down Valentine seeking revenge. Hester jumped down a shoot and Tom followed. Hester then explains to Tom what Valentine had done. Tom and Hester join forces against the evil Valentine. The quest begins for the search for the longevity hunt after Valentine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't read Mortal Engines if you are not a high level thinker, or reader! The plot is very involved and the book is very long. It is truely a great book, and Reeve keeps you hooked until the very end! I am not a hard core reader, but this book made me want to keep reading and never stop! This book is one of the best that I have ever read! I think that everyone should read this book! Also, read the next book, Predator's Gold. It picks up where Mortal Engines left off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was an incredibly good read. I read it in two days and I loved everything about it. And the ending went perfectly with the book, and it was simply creative beyond my own imagination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's not hard to explain exactly why I loved this book so much. The characters were believable, the setting was original and the plot was the best I've seen for a long time. The settings were exotic and almost, strangely, believable. To me it sent a strong message about human nature... and about the dangers of technology. It was bittersweet, memorable and one of the best book's I've ever read -- and i'm a very avid reader. This is one of those you have to read to believe - it's amazing. This book is simply briliant... the detail, the characters, and the lurking sense that this happens not so far away from our lives. The style of writing reminded me of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, and the book was bittersweet, memorable, and one of the best I've read, and I am a very avid reader. 5 stars!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is, to be quite honest, surreal. it has some interesting plot twists, and, a word of cution, dont become to attatched to any of the characters. this book is an amazingly well thought out imagenary world. the characters are all quite a bunch, and help play off of one another, as well as the setting. the two main characters, tom and hester, are about as different as night and day, yet they go together well. trust me, this book is not for the faint of heart. im used to blood, guts, and gore, but this was rediculus. if you are under the age of 13, i do not suggest a book like this. but if you enjoy a great group of characters and and amazing setting, as well as haveing a strong stomach, this is truly a wonderful book, and i would highly suggest it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Sixty Minute War ended western civilization leading to a new world order. The great cities do not reside in one place, but instead are mobile like Roman legions assaulting smaller locations. London has been reduced to one of these prowling giants, but recently concern has surfaced that with a lessening of prey among the midgets, other mega-metropolises will try to devour the big city.

As London chases after Salthook, fifteen years old apprentice historian Tom toils at what all rookies do. He cleans in his case the exhibits of the London Museum of Natural History. However, Tom¿s world changes when he rescues his hero, scavenger turned renowned archeologist Thaddeus Valentine from an assassination attempt. Tom¿s reward is apropos for an apprentice as he and the avenging assassin Hester Shaw are tossed out of the city into the vast wilderness. He learns from her why as she explains her connection to Valentine and the mayor. They team up to survive as Hester and Tom begin a series of adventures to stay alive.

Though classified as a children¿s fantasy, this complex tale can be enjoyed as a straightforward tale that young readers will appreciate or as a satire that adults will treasure. The characters are complex as Philip Reeve paints a picture that what is acceptable under certain conditions seems cruel under others as values are not quite as universal as we westerners would like to believe. MORTAL ENGINES is a winner for children and adults of all ages.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Fabulously engaging. It is what one should read before beginning on P. Pullman's Dark Materials.