Kat's Reviews > Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
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's review
Feb 28, 12

Read from February 27 to 28, 2012

A plot so strong it beats the bad writing. Barely.

The world building in this book is epic. It's an interesting take on the future and doesn't dwell overlong on the science of it, which is nice. Because I'm sure if someone started explaining the science of uprooting entire cities and putting them on wheels to travel at freeway speeds across Europe, there would be holes in logic. Large, gaping holes. But I accepted it. I went with it. And I enjoyed it. The story's good, engaging, entertaining.

The writing however... I picked this book up because I need to read tween books. I'm not sure it's really a tween book. The writing is. The writing is juvenile. The characters have somewhat complicated backgrounds, but their motivations and growth are pretty one note. Their dialogue is extremely questionable. Things are said that should never, ever be said by a normal human being in conversation, especially not human beings with the characterization Reeve has given them, but these are the kind of soap opera slip ups that further a plot, so they're there. It touches briefly at points on more serious issues, such as some pretty brutal deaths and the realistic reactions of the people involved, some of whom have seen death for the first time. But the style is heavy handed, simplistic and really awkward in those moments where the book could really shine.

Additionally, there are tense switches that drove me up the wall. At first I accepted them as a stylistic choice: Only in describing one character did the writing shift from past to present tense. However, by the end of the book, it's hopping tenses all over the place without any kind of rhyme or reason. I think this was an attempt to bring immediacy to the conclusion. It didn't work.

On the whole, I think Peter Jackson's going to make a great movie out of this if he follows through on that project. ...Maybe. With new dialogue, this could be epic.

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Reading Progress

02/27/2012 page 205

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