Narrator: Barnaby Edwards
Series: The Hungry City Chronicles #1
Published by HarperTEEN on 2003-11-01
Length: 8hr and 57min
Reviewing Audiobook from Audible
Reading Challenges: 2018 Audiobook Challenge
London is a city on wheels - a future city like you've never known before. In the terrible aftermath of the Sixty Minute War, cities which survived the apocalypse became predators, chasing and feeding on smaller towns. Now London is hunting down its prey, getting ready to feed. But as the chase begins, Tom uncovers a secret - a secret full of deadly consequences. Soon he is plunged into a world of unkillable enemies, threatened by a weapon that will tear his life apart...
I first read Mortal Engines in high school and I loved it. When I saw they were making a movie, I knew I needed to reread it and refresh my brain prior to seeing the movie. Y’all I’m sad to report the book wasn’t as good as I remember. Now some of that may be caused by the fact I listened to it this time around. The narrator has a thick British accent and at times I couldn’t understand him or I’d get distracted by how different a word sounded with his accent when compared to my own. But that’s on me 😉
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve is a unique YA dystopian set in a world where water is scarce and cities are gigantic monstrosities on wheels. These cities roam the world in search of smaller cities to devour and scavenge wreckage for parts and people. The whole idea of this society engaged me from the start. It’s a future I wouldn’t want to live in, that’s for sure. This book follows one city in particular, London as it looks for a way to become the dominant city in this new world.
Tom is fifteen and an apprentice Historian in London at the opening of the book. He longs for adventure and daydreams of saving damsels from the air pirates who would see them as slaves to sell. Unfortunately for Tom, a chance encounter with a young girl hideously scarred will lead him down a rabbit hole he never thought existed and the adventure he was looking for finds him.
So the things I loved as a high school student such as the setting and action are still present. In fact I found myself holding my breath during the fight scenes and even thirsty as Tom walked across the barren land. But I was distracted by the quality of the characters. Tom is really the only fully fleshed out character. The rest are fall flat on the pages, the airship pirates, the cyborg zombie, the scarred girl, all of them fall flat. Maybe it’s my age now that has me questioning the characters and their choices, but I didn’t like a lot of them as I did when I was a teen. If it wasn’t for the violence, this book would rank more middle grade to me than young adult.
Overall, Mortal Engines was just okay for me. I’m not sure I want to finish rereading the series now. I think I may just stick to what I remember as a teen and enjoy the movie 😉
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