Alex Stockdale's Reviews > Mortal Engines
by Philip Reeve
I picked up Mortal Engines on a whim, while visiting the UK in 2005. It looked like something my teen-age son might enjoy on the flight home. My son didn't get to it, and nor did I, so it went on to the bookshelves at home. It languished there for a few months, until I found it again while looking for something to read. Without many expectations, I opened it and started to read.
Wow! To think that I might so easily have missed this book. Philip Reeve has crafted an amazing work that really stretches the boundaries of YA fiction. In this book we first meet Tom and Hester, the unconventional heroes of this highly original series. As they travel across a fantastically imagined future Earth, they are challenged as much by their own frailties and failings as they are by the many strange characters that they meet along the way.
At least some of the attraction of this book, and its sequels, must be the high regard in which Reeve holds his readers. These books emphasize the "adult" side of "young adult". Tom and Hester must deal with adult emotions, and the potentially lethal consequences of their adventures. I would think twice about giving this book to my 10 year-old son (he'll probably read it in a couple of years), but every teen-ager to whom I have recommended it (including my older son) has loved it.