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A Darkling Plain

(Mortal Engines Quartet #4)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  8,320 ratings  ·  601 reviews
The fourth and final book in Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet.

The great Traction City of London now lies in ruins. Once, not so long ago, it hunted other cities across the vast wastes of a devastated land. Now it is a poisonous, lifeless wreck - until Tom Natsworthy and his daughter, Wren, uncover the secret hidden in its dark heart. It's a secret that could bring an
Paperback, 592 pages
Published July 5th 2018 by Scholastic (first published March 20th 2006)
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Tammy The original series composes of 4 books. But also has a 5th companion book, taking place a few years before the 1st. Additionally there is a 3-book…moreThe original series composes of 4 books. But also has a 5th companion book, taking place a few years before the 1st. Additionally there is a 3-book prequel series(less)
Jason Harris Absolutely not. The series follows characters over the span of 30-35 years. Starting at this would be be confusing.…moreAbsolutely not. The series follows characters over the span of 30-35 years. Starting at this would be be confusing. (less)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Catherine Dacey
Mar 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seizure Romero
WARNING: This diatribe contains potential spoilers and rude language. It is also long. Proceed with caution.

Dear Philip Reeve: I really enjoy the books in your Hungry City Chronicles. They are fine stories with creative and compelling plots, often amusing dialog and interesting characters. You are, however, starting to piss me off. I'm on page 61 of the fourth book and I come to the following passage:

"Lady Naga made a horrible gurgling noise, like the last of the bathwater heading down the
Sara Saif

And so they lived happily ever after... (What I wanted)
What I got: And so the world moved on... (Which was definitely crueler)

It's one of the most under-appreciated books of recent years and given the fact that it's unique, unusual and witty, I suggest you go develop some taste and read it.

The story comes full circle in A Darkling Plain and if there's one thing I've come to learn about Philip Reeve it's that he takes you off-guard. He concluded each of his four books so satisfyingly I was almost

Jonathan Terrington
I love this series and in particular I love the end to this series. Although...
No, I'm not going to put in a major spoiler and ruin it for everyone even though it's tempting.
But to be brief as I always am when writing reviews. After all what is a review for but to inform the reader that they want to read the book and to give a little detail about the book.
But basically all any science fiction aficionado needs to know is that there are reanimated men as stalkers, there are orbiting death
Adam Smith
I gave the first three books 4-stars (exciting but with thin characters) and half-way through A Darkling Plain was of a mind to give this 5-stars, to acknowledge the worldbuilding and story aspects that spanned all the books, even though it struggled with the same problems. (See what I did there, Philip? 'Even though it struggled' instead of 'even though it was struggling'.) The final third of the book cemented a begrudging 3-stars, it was just terrible.

Before I even talk about the story and
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Darkling Plain is the longest of the Hungry City books, by a fairly large margin. But there is, after all, a lot going on here. There's hardly any padding, so it earns it's 500+ pages honestly.

Thinking about the book, I suspect that I wouldn't have liked it so much, or been so glued to it, if I hadn't already been deeply invested in these characters from previous books. Tom and Hester especially, who see their story draw to what is probably its unavoidable close. The ending is fantastic,
This series was just such a disappointment after the first book, which I loved. I just feel like the characters were turning into their worst version of themselves.. or at least people that annoyed me to no end.

So many things in this book bothered me. I have no idea why Tom and Hester acted the way they did. It seemed like they weren't really parents at this point. Plus the whole leaving Wren to go find his wife with just a stupid ass note - oh hell no. Murder was in my eyes.

Not like I actually
This book was a decent end to the series. I didn't like the third book, so many of the things in this book that were connected to that weren't great in my opinion, but I did think the author did a good job creating an ending that wrapped everything up. I just feel a bit like it would have been fine if the series was shorter, because now it got drawn out in a way I didn't particularly care for. The conflicts were fairly complex, and I just wasn't that invested. Neither was I too invested in the ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book to end the series! Still a bit traumatized by all that's happened but I guess I should've gotten used to it since book 1.
Wing Kee
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A amazingly creative world marred by really bad characters, author hang ups and the very visible hand of God.

World: The world is simply the best thing about this series. The dense, creative and mind blowingly deep world that Reeve has created here is the sole reason that I was able to finish this series. The sandbox that is created here gives a huge sense of discovery and wonder with the little bits and pieces of the past the Reeve sprinkles into his world (like the iPod) to tease and delight
Wei Cho
dear reader,

I can't believe this story is coming to an end. I will miss it SO much!

The final installment for The Hungry City Chronicles is finally here, and is a triumph. Who wouldn’t consider it a triumph after diligently reading through the previous books, enduring every twist and battle, to not have an appropriate ending for the characters and the story in general? It was a bit hard to get used to the idea that Tom and Hester weren’t together (or that their love had faded in the story),
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if A Darkling Plain was all that much longer than the previous three books in the Hungry City Chronicles, or if it just felt like it. The book is a direct sequel to Infernal Devices. In many ways this is where it all happens, where it all goes down. All the books leading up to this point, this big showdown between warring powers. More action, less set-up. And action is good, right? But here's the thing, I personally liked the less climatic but funnier books which set this one up. ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

So I liked the first one, the second was OK but I really only read the third based on the fact the blurb seemed to take an nteresting turn. I loved it and then it all gets wrapped up by this one.
I loved this one too.

It had all the good bits from the others and then some.

The world building was again excellent and we even had some more old and new tech to understand. But again even though it seemed complex it still burst off the pages.

I think the characterizations were spot on in this one.
Hannah Greendale
Within the Predator Cities quartet, Philip Reeve has created an imaginative world and a cast of memorable characters. Each book is an invitation to a different time and place, transporting the reader to a remarkable world full of perilous action and extraodrinary adventure.

Spoilers Ahead: (view spoiler)
Michael Campbell
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really a solid series overall. Some ups and downs, but the pros significantly far outweigh the cons in my mind. An imaginative and dark world, with very cool societal and technological concepts. As far as Young Adult Dystopian series go, I'm not sure why this one is glanced over for series I consider of significantly poorer quality(The movie didn't do it any justice or bring in any fans. Still mad about the little baby scar they gave Hester as well!).

I think the main thing is that the
Angela H.
Uhm......the book was okay.

1.) Hester struggling emotions were expressed over 4 books as she struggled to reconcile with her identity as Valemtines daughter.

2.) Alot of action takes place with little to no details. I wish there was more details to add to the fast paced plot.

3) one pro was similar character display of Pennyroyal. He is selfish and only cares for himself.
With a tentative truce agreed between The Green Storm and Municipal Darwinists, all seemed settled but for some, there must always be war and for others, there will be no peace until all mankind has been swept off the planet. Reeve did everything right in this final installment. The characters (Tom and Hester) that I had cared for so much from Mortal Engines are given the right ending and all aspects of the story including characters old and new and bound together in just the right way.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You have noooo idea how happy I am that this series is over and I don’t have to torture myself any longer.
There were so many mehhhh moments with this book that I don’t want to overdo it but keep this short and sweet. So let’s bring out the wonderful dot points!
• Was this even edited?
• Why are we still in their heads?!?! Annoying
• World building can no longer save this book like it did the last three
• Everything is tense but with no climax – it’s a massive blue-balls moments
• Needed salt… or some
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, in-english
That's it, huh. The fourth book in the Mortal Engines Quartet and I still have. So. Many. Questions. But okay, let's be honest, a darkling plain was pretty good and so action packed that I sometimes felt like vibrating from my place.

I actually wanted to whine and shout about the ending because there is still so much to talk about but the last five pages changed my mind. They made me bawl my eyes out and I actually felt good with how it ended.
P. Kirby
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy, ya
Whew! Well, that's finally done.

The entire Mortal Engine series is a sad collection of missed opportunities. It has a weird entertainment value, which is why I read all four books. The plotting is fast-paced and rarely takes a breath. The world building--provided you can get past the impossible physics of mobile cities--is imaginative and the imagery original and cinematic. The characterization, with its reliance on often impossibly naive protagonists, nonetheless, is a realistic depiction of
Stefan Dolan
Overall, this series is probably closer to a 1* for me. It is sad for me to say that I am thankful to be finally finished with this series. It was fairly painful to read and I think it has ended pursuit of never DNFing any book I start.
This version of a post apocalyptic world is very interesting to me, the world is imaginative, but the story begs to be written better. Characters were one dimensional, predictable, and hard to care about. Dialogue was extremely simple and cringe-worthy. It was a
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the conclusion of this series! Still had a lot of good action and adventure that I’ve come to expect from this series. Also it was wonderful ending to all the characters stories that you’ve grown to know and love. So I was very satisfied with the ending and it just felt complete. Great series!
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

That Romeo and Juliet bullshit absolutely destroyed me and i was really looking forward to read some other books, but guess ill have to wait for a while
And that last chapter with shrike and jsvhdjcbs
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are too many characters to keep track, but that's what the world is like. There are delicious large agendas at work. This is how you end the series - in an epic satisfying, somewhat arbitrary point in time when things have settled somewhat. But on and on the time ticks.

I loved the world Reeve has built from the first book. But I was annoyed of the weird rules of the world that needed several deus-ex-machinas to get out of impossible spots like a bad B-movie. Shrike gets established as a
Jonathan Combs
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reeve provides a beautiful ending to this massive saga. Although classified as young adult, these books appeal as much to this old adult. Great writing, subtle humor, gripping and inventive story lines (Municipal Darwinism--how great is that?), and characters you can actually love or hate, but never feel ambivalent about . Hester Shaw is a difficult central figure, partly because of her absolute cold-bloodedness, partly because she excuses her bad deeds by blaming them on her lineage, and partly ...more
This review is for the first four volumes of The Hungry City Chronicles as a set. They are the grandest adventure stories I read this year (2018). With a slew of richly complicated characters with realistc motivations. Reading these books back to back was thoroughly rewarding experience. While each book is a completely enjoyable standalone adventure, the four volumes together act as a mosaic to one larger tapestry. The only downside to reading them back to back was the fact that everything I ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an excellent finish to such an exciting adventure story.
I enjoyed Mortal Engines and thought the next two books OK. But this just was fantastic. So many references and ideas hidden within a world, without becoming a dark Dystopia.
"...showed an Eight armed image of the Thatcher, all devouring goddess of the unified Municipal Darwinism." Great stuff

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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

Other books in the series

Mortal Engines Quartet (5 books)
  • Night Flights (Mortal Engines Quartet, #0.5)
  • Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1)
  • Predator's Gold (Mortal Engines Quartet #2)
  • Infernal Devices (The Hungry City Chronicles, #3)
“That's what History teaches us, I think, that life goes on, even though individuals die and whole civilizations crumble away: The simple things last; they are repeated over and over by each generation.” 17 likes
“It will be all right, Tom. Wherever we go now, whatever becomes of us, we'll be together, and it will all be all right.” 7 likes
More quotes…