Book of the week: Mortal Engines

Let me catch my breath

What a fast pace novel, that one. Sooo fast, I’m glad I purchased #1 and #2 at the same time.

It’s a good book, perfect for kids and tweens who actually don’t like to read or find it a long, boring, pointless exercise. You ain’t gonna have time to be bored with that one, m’dear young reader!

I really enjoy it. I will read all four. That being said, I feel like I have no choice but to read the whole series, not only because it’s good, but because I am dying to know what will become of the main characters.

Clever author Philip Reeve makes sure to hook the readers, with his harsh and wonderful dystopian universe and complex characters.

No wonder the book became a massive movie thing, every scene in every chapters reads like a movie. Everything is to the point. From the emotions the characters go through to the descriptions of the complex mecha, no word is superfluous.

No time to waste anyway. Even if you wanted to rest a little with the character in the beautiful place they reached, and have a longer look around, you can’t.

And, that’s exactly why, you know, I liked the book buuut.

So much hastiness!

The art of pacing

Philip Reeve gives us a fast-paced story, which works great for everybody, especially people who, like I said, don’t like books to begin with, or have a lot of other books to get to, aged from 11 and beyond.

In a universe where who could easily spend several chapters to describe one place since there’s so much that could be said about it – great worldbuilding, by the way, a beautiful masterpiece of worldbuilding, well delivered – a fast-paced story is crucial.

Still, sometimes, the story cuts short.

Some details are, sometimes, given at random just so the story can move along. The same goes for the unraveling of a supposedly super well-buried secret a character suddenly puts together and voilà, moving on.

Mortal Engines, was first published in 2001. It is a great #1 to this fast-paced quartet by the excellent Philip Reeve, a prolific UK author.

I read the book in French. Published by Gallimard and translated by Luc Rigoureau, Mécaniques fatales as one flaw that kept putting me off: the translation of the names.
When it comes to names, I understand one can’t just leave the names untouched and explains the meaning in footnotes all the time… but one should.