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Infernal Devices (Mortal Engines Quartet) Paperback – 4 May 2009
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Wren's chance for adventure comes when Gargle arrives with a crew of Lost Boys and asks her to steal the Tin Book, an artefact from The Sixty Minute War. Wren agrees but when things turn sour she's kidnapped by Fishcake, one of Gargle's men. Hester and Tom go after them, joined by Freya and Caul but find that the world has changed while they were away - under the Stalker Fang, the Green Storm has inflicted heavy losses on the Traction Cities and forced them into a retreat using stalker technology.
Hester and Tom's search takes them to Brighton, a floating Traction City, where they discover that Wren and Fishcake have been sold into slavery, and the city's mayor, Pennyroyal, is a successful author, retelling the adventures of PREDATOR'S GOLD with himself as the hero. Meanwhile, Dr Zero, the Stalker Fang's personal physician, has found and resurrected Shrike, and her plans for him that will change everything ...
Much of what is so great about the previous books is repeated in this one. The story is tightly plotted, Reeve maintains his ruthless approach to his characters, and there are neat nods to the events in the previous books. What's not so great is Wren. She's a bit of a ninny - naive, wilful and not nearly as smart as she thinks she is. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem but Reeve uses her as a plot device more than as a character of her own right and she pales in comparison to Hester, who remains emotionally conflicted, ruthless and fascinating. Reeve gives Wren a romance angle with Theo, a failed Green Storm suicide pilot, but there's not enough of that on the page for it to hold the attention. Also missing is the background for Wren's conflict with her mother - Reeve indicates that it's about a boy, which is oddly superficial for the depth of antagonism between them.
Fortunately, the conclusion more than makes up for the niggles. Heartbreaking and horrific, it closes the story but does so in a way that will definitely leave you desperate for more.
"Some of the finest literature of our age is being written for the under-fives…” made me giggle
It has been a wonderful distraction from a busy life, that also puts that life in context of the inevitable march of time,
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