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Mortal Engines

(Mortal Engines Quartet #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  54,457 ratings  ·  5,471 reviews
"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 unfold.

Thaddeus Va
Paperback, 326 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Harper Collins US UK (first published November 16th 2001)
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Popular Answered Questions
Niki I guess this is where I ask the question about if you're referring to the same author. As far as I could tell, Reeve and Pullman are two different aut…moreI guess this is where I ask the question about if you're referring to the same author. As far as I could tell, Reeve and Pullman are two different authors and Philip Reeve is not a pen name for Philip Pullman.

Am I missing something?(less)
Esteban I say it's more steam punk than anything. Great yarn. I flew through this book, and I'm a slow reader. 4 stars…moreI say it's more steam punk than anything. Great yarn. I flew through this book, and I'm a slow reader. 4 stars(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Evelina | AvalinahsBooks by: boyfriend
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 ide
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steampunk fans
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 t
Hannah Greendale
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 little more than 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 turn
Jonathan Terrington
Third Review

You can read this review over at my website as well The Write Stuff and you will also be able to read my review of the film once I watch it in December 2018!

The Hungry City Chronicles is one of my favourite book series from childhood. I was around twelve to fourteen years old when I first read the series. The ideal age to read these novels and to be entertained by them. I had no preconceptions about literature structure. No knowledge about in media res or three-act story telling.

Tina ➹ the girl who lives in Fandoms
2 Stars

(P: Poor)

again, another little book lasted too long.

Good interesting, funny beginning
I liked Tom
Unique post–apocalyptic world
But too many stuff I wasn’t interested in, in the middle, especially most of those POV characters that weren’t Tom.
I like a few of the characters, though they were stupid or annoying sometimes. but there were many unimportant unnecessary characters just were in the scene just to push one button.

the writing style was sometimes fun (especially in the beginning) when i
It's town eat town world

I separate YA dystopian books in two categories based on two popular series. Hunger games it's children and books similar to Chaos walking. Mortal engines is latter.While it's bit older they are definitively branches of the same tree which has roots in old fantasy.

Mortal Engines is steampunk dystopia where after huge war ground become unstable and resources become scarce so entire settlements became mobile. Thousand years later and towns still roam and devour each other
I was thinking to myself as I read this... wow, this seems like a great YA novel that has major overtones of steampunk and dystopia. I would have LOVED this back in the early 2000's.

I really should have read it back then. Seriously.

Because now, after a glut of dystopia, strange steampunk (even if it is a far future dystopia), and charming YA characters also glutting the market, Mortal Engines now feels a bit... dated.

The cities chomping down on each other and the later spoilerish coolness is sti
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
i really enjoyed ❤️
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mimi by: S&L July 2018
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 wi
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I decided to read this after seeing the movie and surprisingly enjoying it. The book pretty much follows the same plot as the movie with some minor differences. I didn't realize dystopian future steampunk was a thing but Reeve makes it work. In the distant future, cities rove the Earth on giant tracks gobbling up smaller cities for their dwindling resources. As one character says, "It's a town eat town world." It's such a nutjob idea that I had to read more. The characters are well-written. The ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A post-apocalypse dystopian future where cities survive by traveling on tank like vehicles - I was instantly sold on the idea the first time I caught the trailer for the forthcoming movie.
I had to read the book!

I love the world that Reeve has created, London feels so familiar yet different here.
The idea that big cities can consume smaller locations was such an intriguing narrative, though eerily felt too similar to our own expansion and building on rural areas.

The wordplay and descriptions were
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: fantasy
Because of the movie coming out soon, I've picked up this book hoping for a great adventure. And yes, the story is actually really good, but the writing isn't. Is like having a great idea but not executing it properly. Now, Tom, the lead character, was likable and had a major character development. I liked that he was a realistic hero and he did what we all would have done in his shoes. I also liked Kate and her story. Actually, her story was the most interesting one. As a character, Kate was sw ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Well, that was a lot darker and bloodier than I expected from a children's book.

Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA readers
Most awesome book 4.5 stars!

"It’s a town-eat-town world.” –Municipal Darwinism

Municipal Darwinism is a concept that hooked me right from the first page. Imagine a society where hungry cities roam, searching for prey. Imagine these huge cities, shaped like giant steel tiered wedding cakes rumbling around the countryside gobbling up smaller towns and settlements. Imagine the noise, the dust, and the deep tracks in the mud. This is the intriguing world of the Mortal Engines.

This is a world set fa
Jul 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like strong female characters, children's fantasy, and books set in London
Shelves: scififantasy
I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's has a great concept: mobile cities roam Europe "eating" each other. It has a nice, if off-beat, feel for London. On the plus side, the novel actively attacks heroic ideals, leaving a darker, more morally ambiguous world view than I'd expected. I especially liked how Reeve initially juxtaposes the beautiful, "High London" girl Kate, who is oblivious to the oppression that keeps her world afloat, with a physically and mentally scarred Hester, who is b ...more
3.5 stars (I think.) this was a surprisingly dark book. There are some great ideas here; I find the concept and the application of “municipal Darwinism” pretty scary. The numbers of people and resources destroyed just to keep the huge, moving city of London (and other smaller, moving cities and towns) going. And the classification of people into specific professions (Engineers, Historians, etc), which I had previously encountered in “Fever Crumb”, feels even more rigid and restricting. There are ...more
Aaron Vincent
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Originally Posted on Guy Gone Geek

With the dystopian boom the market is now seeing, it’s kind of hard to find a true dystopian novel. Strange, isn’t it? There are lots of ‘dystopian’ novels being published these days but only few of it really fits the genre. Yeah, some books tries but that’s what makes the difference: it tries, it doesn’t just be. Gone was the bleak tone of the narrative. Gone was the relentless nature of the society. Gone was the subtle questions the readers have to ask themsel
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun and imaginative steampunk-esque sci fi fantasy story for middle grade +. If I had been 12, this would have been 5 stars!
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, it's one of the rare cases where I liked the movie better, but the book is still very, very good.

The main characters are charming, and the world is FASCINATING. My 14yo son read the book before we saw the movie, and he also preferred the movie, but is still planning to read the entire series. I might, but I've been hearing from a lot of people about how the prequel series, FEVER CRUMB, is their favorite, so I think I'll go to those first.

The movie was full of pretty people running around,
Wei Cho
Dear reader,


I don’t have enough words to describe how much I enjoyed this book. The genre, post-apocalyptic steampunk science fiction, has made it into one of my top favourite genres; it totally submerged me intoa new world. Reeve introduces us into a new, strange, colourful, yet gritty world, ruled by “MunicipalDarwinism” (town-eat-town world). His world-building was exceptional, creating an adventurous environment where cities move and “eat” each othe
Jason Pettus
I really knew nothing about Philip Reeve's seven-book (and counting) young adult "Mortal Engines" series up to recently, but got convinced to pick it up through an article at the blog for science-fiction publisher Tor, because the premise sounded so insane: first humanity blows itself up with nuclear weapons, which then kicks off a chain of natural disasters like new volcanos, which then leads humanity to build motorized wheel platforms for all their cities so they can be packed up and moved at ...more
May 30, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars.

I really liked the ending but the book was a disappointing read overall.
Amy (libraryofamy)
DNF on page 158 .

This was just really, really boring. And bad. Boring and Bad.

I'm not sure what the target age group is for this book. Is it middle grade or YA? The characters are woefully immature/one-dimensional/trope-y yet this story had it's violent elements as well. The simple writing style seems to be targeted towards younger readers, but the main characters were teenagers and adults? I don't even know. I guess it doesn't matter, but I'm not sure how I was meant to read this book. If th
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Well... I picked this book back up a few times to try to just finish it but I'm finding my brain just can't handle the sheer amount of implausibility. I mean, I have a pretty strong ability to suspend disbelief but there is something about the ridiculous mechanics in this that make me unable to finish. I gave it a try though, which to me is the reason I belong to the Sword & Laser group, to try things I wouldn't have otherwise. ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And so on to the last of books I need to catch up upon and one I must add which was so much fun to read. As I have hinted at in the review for Night Flights - this is the first of the Hungry Cities series (I will admit I am sure I have known them by other names but I am sure Goodreads is right - as I thought they were the Mortal Engines?).

Anyway this is my first edition I have been putting off and off for no apparent reason - till now.

Any boy was a I missing out - the story will soon be told in
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am so happy that I dove into this book, even though it was an audio, WAY before I saw the movie. I also apologize because I had no idea that the movie was already out?!? #OOPS?

Mortal Engines was such an entertaining book! At the beginning, I was definitely getting City of Ember vibes. Please don't make me explain why I automatically thought that but I did. It also made me enjoy this a lot more.

I loved the world building in this book. Even listening to the audio and I could visualize everythin
3 stars!!

I loved the idea of this book so much and wanted to love it.

It was very creative and unique, but I found it hard to stay engaged. I had trouble connecting with the characters and an even harder time imagining this world as a whole. There were certain things I really liked about it and other things that fell flat for me. I'm not sure I will continue with the series, but I am glad it was made into a movie. Maybe once I see it come to life, I will want to continue with it at a later
Matthew Quann
YA fantasy and sci-fi aren't my usual cup of tea, but I ended up having a good bit of fun with Philip Reeve's early-2000's hit. The story moves quickly and manages to pack in some interesting world-building. I've done my best to avoid most post-apocalyptic stuff of late, but this far-distant future where mechanized cities roam the land was original and well realized. I was also impressed with the subversion of the "beautiful young people fall in love" trope, and I'm sad to see that the Hollywood ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book. It has everything that YA genre enjoy - adventure, love mystery. It’s certainly a book adults would enjoy. The suspense kinda builds throughout the story until,the final climax and that was done well. I might consider reading the rest of the series.
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.

Man, I love that opening line: it immediately raises so many questions, and weirdly reminds me of Stephen King's inimitable The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. It immediately plunges you into a chase scene with an urge to know more and see what happens.

I needed something light and whimsical after my previous book, so t
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Philip Reeve was born and raised in Brighton, where he worked in a bookshop for a number of years while also co-writing, producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects.

Philip then began illustrating and has since provided cartoons for around forty children's books, including the best-selling Horrible Histories, Murderous Maths and Dead Famous series.

Railhead, published by Oxford Un

Other books in the series

Mortal Engines Quartet (5 books)
  • Night Flights (Mortal Engines Quartet, #0.5)
  • Predator's Gold (Mortal Engines Quartet #2)
  • Infernal Devices (The Hungry City Chronicles, #3)
  • A Darkling Plain (The Hungry City Chronicles, #4)

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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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“You aren't a hero and I'm not beautiful and we probably won't live happily ever after " she said. "But we're alive and together and we're going to be all right.” 132 likes
“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.” 43 likes
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