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 The Great Traction City London Has Been Skulking In The Hills To Avoid The Bigger, Faster, Hungrier Cities Loose In The Great Hunting Ground But Now, The Sinister Plans Of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome Can Finally UnfoldThaddeus Valentine, London S Head Historian And Adored Famous Archaeologist, And His Lovely Daughter, Katherine, Are Down In The Gut When The Young Assassin With The Black Scarf Strikes Toward His Heart, Saved By The Quick Intervention Of Tom, A Lowly Third Class Apprentice Racing After The Fleeing Girl, Tom Suddenly Glimpses Her Hideous Face Scarred From Forehead To Jaw, Nose A Smashed Stump, A Single Eye Glaring Back At Him Look At What Your Valentine Did To Me She Screams Ask Him Ask Him What He Did To Hester Shaw And With That She Jumps Down The Waste Chute To Her Death Minutes Later Tom Finds Himself Tumbling Down The Same Chute And Stranded In The Out Country, A Sea Of Mud Scored By The Huge Caterpillar Tracks Of Cities Like The One Now Steaming Off Over The HorizonIn A Stunning Literary Debut, Philip Reeve Has Created A Painful Dangerous Unforgettable Adventure Story Of Surprises, Set In A Dark And Utterly Original World Fueled By Municipal Darwinism And Betrayal This book gets a solid OKAY from me good for young adult, but just fine overall There was one thing about it that I couldn t get behind, and that one thing got in the way of my enjoyment More on that below.Generally speaking, this writing was too young for me, but this time I say that as an observation, not a critique, because it s written meant for a younger audience middle grade level Readers who enjoy YA would enjoy it as well, but the writing gave me that feeling that it was written with young readers in mind Almost everything about it was geared toward young readers, from the young wholesome protagonists who are eager to throw themselves into the fray, to their fight to overthrow a corrupt system, to their grand magnanimous ideals, to the industrialized dystopian setting, to the bleak look at an environmentally devastating future, to the mustache twirling villains, to the non stop action, and the list goes on, right into the spoilers So I ll stop listing things here.I would recommend this book to young readers and anyone looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation It s a little violent for YA, with some characters getting killed rather graphically, but the ideas and visuals and hydraulics this book inspire will look incredible on screen.To get to that one thing that took me out of the story, I have to explain a little about the set up The conceit, Municipal Darwinism, is really interesting The execution, though, is not as interesting Municipal Darwinism is basically big cities consuming smaller cities Once consumed, the smaller cities get broken into parts and their resources are used to fuel the bigger cities The people who are consumed either assimilate and resettle in the new city or they are enslaved it all depends on how ethical the cities doing the consuming are Not all big cities are predators though A few of them are peaceful, and survive by trading with smaller municipals I find theminteresting than the predators and wanted to find outabout them, but this story s focus is on predator cities 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 These cities aren t just cities stuck on land, though They re traction cities Yeah, that s right, they can move They can run actually Up to 100 km per hour, if I remember correctly Yeah This was where the book lost me I could not imagine a city the size of London running around the world eating almost everything in sight at roughly 60 to 100 km per hour I mean, the weight it carries alone would snap its appendages clean off every time it tries to move forward Unless, somehow, the atmosphere is less dense and or gravity is no longer a thing in this world I don t know I could imagine everything this book threw at me, everything but cities running around on traction.Apparently not being able to buy into this one thing unravels the whole book because I found the rest of the story hard to take in while I tried to work out how London was racing across the world, gulping down other cities.I went through the same thing with Updraft by Fran Wilde The ideas introduced bone towers and flying contraptions were really interesting, but the ways in which they were incorporated into the story and dystopian setting didn t make much sense to me, and that took me right out of the world the author tried so hard to create And once it lost me, I could not get back into it.So that was my stumbling block for Mortal Engines Wish I could have liked itbecause it s got fourbooks in the series, and I love series but I love solid world buildingSo not dismissing these books completely, just gonna put it on the maybe list for now.Cross posted at I don t think I have ever read any steampunk before However, I do think the Dark Materials series may fall into that genre and I did read that even though I didn t care for it , so maybe I have I decided to try Mortal Engines because I saw the preview for the recently released movie and I thought it looked interesting I am not sure how the movie fared, but the book was quite an adventure Set in a steampunk future world, the majority of the cities on Earth have become giant moving behemoths that wander the land swallowing up smaller towns and scavenging wreckage The focus is on the roaming town of London and its attempt to seek dominance in a world of rival cities, pirate suburbs, airships, and anti tractionists who believe the towns should stay in one place I thought the story was great and very creative There was lots of action and character development and the author did not pull any punches when it came to the mortality of the people and the cities I found myself deeply invested throughout and enjoyed every minute of it I am glad to see that this is just the first of a series as I am excited to explore this world some .I don t think fans of Sci fi dystopian steampunk can go wrong here It is geared toward YA and, unlike some others that seem to be mislabeled as YA, this one definitely has a YA feel So, if you are not a YA fan, I am not sure if the steampunk sci fi will be enough to interest you, but I think it is very worth a try. Mortal Engines is an enchanting blend of steampunk, dystopia, and whimsy The adventure is grand, the world is alive, and the characters are memorable In the distant future, the earth is littlethan barren landscape cluttered with the rusted remnants of crumbling infrastructure People have raised the cities from the ground, retrofitting them with rolling tracks and steaming engines to prowl the wastes in search of smaller cities to devour for scrap The mining town saw the danger and turned tail, but already the huge caterpillar tracks under London were starting to roll faster and faster Soon the city was lumbering in hot pursuit, a moving mountain of metal that rose in seven tiers like the layers of a wedding cake, the lower levels wreathed in engine smoke, the villas of the rich gleaming white on the higher decks, and above it all the cross on top of St Paul s Cathedral glinting gold, two thousand feet above the ruined earth. Enter fifteen year old Tom, Third Class Apprentice to the Guild of Historians, who daydreams of rescuing pretty girls from air pirates Tom could really use a little adventure in his life Cue the mysterious girl with a terrible scar running down her face whose chance encounter with Tom leads to faradventure than he bargained for. So do they hand out those literary prizes for anything now Second bad review in the same week, but I have to be honest I read this book because my boyfriend read it when he was a kid teen and he said he remembered it as awesome Well, I guess we look at things differently when we re kids.And yet I know a lot of kids books that have brilliant writing, good story building and don t need to be dumbed down.Let me just put it in the form of a nice list The good good morals underneath nice idea about the way the world works, the hungry cities the ending did absolve it a little bit for a YA book, it wasn t overburdened with love triangles or worse as is usually the case That would be about it.The bad it never gets anywhere until you reach 50% stuff just happens in a jumble, never leading up to anything for half the book either stuff is just too damn predictable the writing is kind of badthan half the important characters are killed off at 95% Seriously Were you going for some drama here it feels unfinished Or was I reading a first draft Sure felt like it.There was onepoint, and to be honest, I am having trouble figuring out if it should go with the good or the bad things This would work as a movie It s written like a movie But not one of those cinematic books More like a book that really wanted to be a movie, but couldn t So it s only half a book.To sum it up, no it s not a bad book Maybe not if you re 12 But I still feel that kids books CAN and should be better than that You can make it a kids book without writing it poorly.Sometimes I wonder if maybe I should write a book someday too But then I read something like this and get scared that I ll just write one like that too Then I think, maybe it s best not to try.