“Mortal Engines” by Philip Reeve – abandoned at 85%

“Mortal Engines” is filled with original ideas, is visually stunning and manages to follow multiple action-packed threads while maintaining a clear storyline and a high level of drama.

All of that explains why I made it eighty-five per cent of the way through the book before I abandoned it.

Faced with listening to the final hour and a half of audiobook before I reached what I’m fairly sure will be an explosive cliff-hanger ending, I realised that I just didn’t care what happened and I was very .unlikely to read the next book in the series.

The problem I have is that the young people in this book, who are the prime movers of the action all seem like an adult’s idealised or tidied up view of the young. I don’t find them either believable or interesting.

I feel like I’ve been dropped into a futuristic version of an Enid Blyton story. That’s perhaps a little harsh. The children are probably no more implausible than the ones in C.S. Lewis’ “Narnia” but “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe” was published in 1950. I think expectations around how young adults are depicted have changed since then. My expectations certainly have.

“Mortal Engines” makes me realise what a good job Pullman did with “The Golden Compass”. This book needed a Lara to hold my attention. Instead I got nice but bland young people, powered by outrage and betrayal but with no real understanding of hate or rage.

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