Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Imagine a world where cities can move across the land. A world where cities are hungry and always hunting down other cities. How about a world where cities must fight to survive or become nothing but a wasteland. Well, check out the futuristic steampunk book Mortal Engines by Philip Reeves. This book is the first in The Hungry Cities Chronicles.

  • Title: Mortal Engines
  • Author: Philip Reeves
  • Year Published: 2001
  • Page Count:320
  • Author Site: Here
  • Goodreads: Here
  • Buy Book: Amazon


In the world of Mortal Engines, there are different kinds of cities. The old cities that we once use to know is called Static Cities that don’t move and stay where they are from years to come until a moving city comes to eat it. These moving cities are know as traction cities. THey are mechanic and have the ability to move across the land. But sadly in this future resources are scare and the end is coming near. The cities must find a way to survive. In order to do this cities must eat other cities in order to keep moving.

That’s the world that Tom lives in. An orphan boy who is taken in by the guild and is historian apprentice. He ends up meeting a man known as a famous engineer named Valentine and goes on a trip to the gut along with his daughter Katherine. During this trip, Tom ends up saving Valentine from a mysterious female assassin wearing a scarf. Suddenly, after Tom saves Valentine he gets thrown into another world called Out Country. There he is forced to team up with the mysterious assassin whose name is Hester if they want to return to London.

Along the way, both Tom and Hester encounter dangers that they encounter from hungry cities, pirates, slave traders and must work with a mysterious woman in a red cape if they ever wish to return.


I never heard of this book. In fact, the only way I discovered it was when I went to go see the latest Jurassic Park movie. There I saw the trailer for the movie and thought it was something I knew I would really enjoy. When I read it was a delight to find out my curiosity was worth it. Did I mention I enjoy a post-apocalyptic steampunk book?

The concept of the book was fresh and unique. DIfferent from what is out there. From the idea of cities that can move and travel. Cities with the need to survive and must feed off of other cities in order to live were cool. I also like the element of the survival of the fittest as them in the book. Alongside that, I also enjoyed the fast past action and the steampunk elements that was in the story. You got your mixture of crazy engineers, Victorian styled London, and airship pirates. What’s not to love. Add in a murderous assassin seeking revenge which adds the cherry on top of cake.

There was also a mixture of lively characters that held the story well. I liked the main character, Tom. When the story started he was a wuss and that need the adventure to help him grow up and face his fears. He also had to struggle with the fact that the world he once knew was way different from the outside. As well as trying to put his life in the hands of a dangerous girl who tried to kill the man he admired.

As for the female character Hester. I totally adored her character and thought she was a badass. She is strong, tough and not afraid of most things. Not willing to let anyone stop her from reaching her end goal. I also like the fact that the book also gave her a soft side which I appreciated.

Overall, the book was really fun and I am really excited to read more from the series and see how characters develop as it goes on. As well as seeing more of the post-apocalyptic steampunk world.


Buy the book
The Author’s Site
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