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Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet) Paperback – 3 Sep 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Age Range: 10 - 16 years
  • Publisher: Scholastic; 1 edition (3 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407152130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407152134
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.2 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Wildly imaginative, full of marvelous details, humor, and grand adventures." --kliatt


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To avoid confusion this is a review of 'Mortal Engines’ by Stanislaw Lem and not ‘Mortal Engines’ by Philip Reeve as I see Amazon has rather confused the top books here in the review section.

There is a distinct break in tone in this collection - which I discovered afterwards is due to this being a collection of Lem’s collection ‘Fables for Robots’ with a couple of other stories on robots from Lem’s other writings tacked on at the end.

The early tales are, as you might imagine, from their source collection ‘Fables for Robots’ fairy tale like and enchanting tales of a universe of robots in a universe free (mostly) of humans. I have never come across anything like them in SF. Lem is very much the author who could pull that idea off well, and he does so.

The tone then changes for the tacked on stories at the of the collection but be very grateful that they are tacked on as one of them, ‘Mask’, is the most memorable, and haunting tales of the whole collection.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book as part of reference material and wouldn't otherwise have considered it. How glad I am to have been pointed in its direction. Easily one of the best books I've ever read (and I've read many) and one that leaves you wondering about the future of its surviving characters.

There isn't a single word which doesn't add to the atmosphere, tension and emotion of the unfolding story. Every character evokes some response from the reader and the physical, social and psychological desperation of the towns is effectively conveyed through Reeve's appropriate, but not excessive, description; in fact, in some cases his brevity adds to the stark and bereft circumstance.

Listed as a children's book this is a prime example of the higher standard demanded by children from modern literature. Any adult would take something away from this story. It's brilliantly written and ultimately demonstrates the disappointment that the young so frequently experience when adults fail them; their resilience is empowering to readers.

This is a great book, not one to be rushed though because there's so much to enjoy.
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By nic on 22 April 2004
Format: Paperback
This book grabbed me with its opening sentence, as good books will, and it had me gripped right to the end. It's a wonderful story wonderfully told, packed with clever conceits and vividly depicted characters and set in a fascinating and imperfect future which recalls Victorian England in some ways and Mad Max in others. Readers who have enjoyed Philip Pullman's fiction are likely to fall for Mortal Engines hard and fast. Not only are the characters thoroughly beguiling, not only is the plot fast-paced and twisty, but there are *layers* here - just as the moving cities are built of layer upon layer. Reeve is also a wordsmith of no mean skill - there are phrases that leap off the page and force a person to pause and re-read and savour. Lovely.
Appropriate for readers aged 11ish upwards, I'd say, who are prepared to read something with more moral ambiguity than Harry Potter.
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Format: Paperback
In this unique and innovative novel, set a thousand years in the future, the surface of Earth has been corrupted beyond all recognition, and cities have been forced to mount themselves in order to catch ‘prey’ (smaller, weaker cities), which they digest, after a fashion, to help them survive. Tom Natsworthy, a young apprentice in London’s Guild of Engineers, yearns to go on adventures of the sort that his idol Thaddeus Valentine goes on all the time. However when a young disfigured assassin, Hester Shaw, tries to kill Valentine, Tom’s world is really turned on its head. He is forced to live on the ‘Bare Earth’, an idea totally alien to him, and he comes to learn more about his hero than he would have wanted. Though this may seem formulaic, Reeve injects a very welcome style of arch and knowing humour, to prevent any cloying sentimentality from creeping in. There are references to our culture today, however they are obscured by time; for example people in Mortal Engines believe that Mickey and Pluto are the animal-headed gods of America, much in the same way that we think of Anubis and Horus as gods of Egypt!
In Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve has created something startlingly original. The universe of ‘Municipal Darwinism’ seems fully formed within Reeve’s head, and its realisation is brilliant. For examples the concept of ‘Anti-Tractionism’ seems totally real within this universe, as do all the prejudices felt towards it by those who live on Traction Towns. Reeve has even created new terms e.g. ‘urbivore’, ‘scavenger suburb’ and ‘static settlement’ (what we would know today as normal houses). This is all played through with a brilliantly dry sense of humour (e.g.
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By A Customer on 13 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have not been so captivated by a book in a long time. From the opening lines to the explosive climax this book held my interest on so many levels. As a storyteller myself I was kept on the edge of my seat by the concepts and more importantly the characterisation.
Comparison to Potter and Pullman abound in other reviewers comments but I feel that it should be compared to Gibbson and Sterling as it has many themes that echo thorough out the works of both authors but Reeve fails to shy away from the effects of the characters actions.
Some obvious reverences to science fiction ideas Though the character of “Shrike” is the direct descendant of a “Terminator” it is perhaps the most Human of all the characters and will be held in my imagination next to chitty-chitty-bang-bangs’ Child catcher for shear menace.
The Plethora of secondary characters (found so often in epic “quest” tales) are all exquisitely drawn, all complete with individual motivation.
And in many ways that’s is what this book is about . Not only what drives Cities to tare up their roots (and Routs) But what Drives societies to survive and through that, Survive as individuals. Always at a cost to their humanity.
Sold by most of the other reviewers as a book for the TEEN market (what ever that is) I cant recommend this enough to people of all ages. Go on Read it.. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.
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