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Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Bit of an old one today, that has been made current again by the recent film. I’ve yet to see the movie, but this book is a proper dystopian classic…

The novel follows our hero, Tom who is a teenage Apprentice Historian in London. But in this post apocalyptic world London is a movable traction city vehicle, a massive lumbering hulk with buildings and engines and people living on it. They hunt and destroy smaller city vehicles for parts and resources. However, not everyone believes this is a cause for celebration. Tom accidentally interrupts the apprehension of a fugitive Hester Shaw but when he tries to help it’s clear he has seen too much and his own superior pushes him from London.

Hester and Tom then go on a fantastical series of adventures escaping from Cyborgs, meeting airship pilots and encountering pilot towns, ultimately getting themselves on a mission to stop an ancient deadly weapon called MEDUSA.

The story is thrilling, the characters well realised and complex and while some of the themes are quite adult it’s a great bridging novel between middle grade/older children fiction and full YA angst and violence.

It’s the first in a series, and while there’s clearly an adventure after this one (it’s the first of four) it can easily be read as a standalone.

And we just happen to have this wonderful edition in the shop right now.