Steampunk interests me. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I’ve enjoyed several steampunk films I’ve seen. Mortal Engines was the first steampunk novel I’ve read. When I first picked it up I had no idea that it was a steampunk motif. Halfway through it suddenly dawned on me that this is what a lot of people talk about when they say a steampunk novel.
Mortal Engines is set in the post-apocalyptic future where cities are movable and travel around devouring one another in order to gain citizens and the parts of the cities they “eat”. They call it city Darwinism. Their only competition is the Anti-traction league who stay put and live lives like we currently do. The problem is that they are in danger from cities like London who have developed weapons that can obliterate any competition.
I liked the Steampunk aspects. The airships (dirigibles) and the iron bodied cities and the goggles and hoods many people wear. The idea of cities moving around devouring each other for resources is quite clever. The short-comings in the book revolve around the characters.
Tom is the first protagonist we meet and he’s ok. He’s just very immature emotionally and doesn’t seem to act the way a teenage boy would for his age. The same goes for Katherine. She’s a strong character except for her childish emotional maturity. The only one who seems to be emotionally matched to her age is Hester.
This is an entertaining read, the the problems with the characters aren’t too distracting just more of a nuisance. The actions of Tom, Kate, and Hester are all admirable although sometimes waaaay too dramatic. It’s a fun read and if I was a teenager I’d probably really like this book.