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Friday, January 07, 2011

Three by Philip Reeve: Fever Crumb, Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold

(3 more December reads)
Fever Crumb is the prequel to  Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles) by Philip Reeve.  The series is a YA Steampunk series. 

From Booklist: 
Set some centuries before the Hungry City Chronicles, yet still well into the future, this prequel series opener stars young Fever Crumb, reared by the Order of Engineers in the massive head of an unfinished statue, to operate with a slavish devotion to logic. (In one delightful scene, a group of engineers pours out of the head’s nostril door “like a highly educated sneeze”). Uncertain of her heritage, as well as the source of the memories invading her mind, Fever embarks on a rather typical quest of discovery with anything-but-typical trimmings. London is a nearly medieval backwater, where relics of ancient technology hint at a time thousands of years ago when people still understood how to make circuit boards and microchips. Reeve’s captivating flights of imagination play as vital a role in the story as his endearing heroine, his worthy villains, and nifty array of supporting characters. Although there’s all manner of foundation work to gratify readers familiar with the world introduced in 2003’s Mortal Engines (including the genesis of Municipal Darwinism and the origins of a very familiar figure), Reeve has crafted a swiftly paced story worthy of standing alone, both in terms of where Fever’s adventure may lead her next as well as the connections to the Hungry City Chronicles. It may not be possible for Reeve to ever fully explore this world, but that shouldn’t keep him from trying, hopefully in many books to come. Grades 6-9. --Ian Chipman 

This one didn't work too well for me.  It evidently works very well for the intended age group, but I didn't find it all that appealing.  The conclusion left a possibility open for another prequel before Mortal Engines.

Fiction.  Steampunk/YA.  2010.  336 pages.

Mortal Engines - I did like this one better, perhaps because I liked the characters better, but I still found the moving city concept a bit difficult to wrap my head around.  I especially liked Katherine and Hester Shaw, but I liked Tom, as well.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. As the story opens, the great Traction City of London is chasing a small town. When one city takes over another, it processes all reusable materials to create power to run the motorized wheels that enable the city to travel over the land. London's mayor has bigger plans than the domination of a small town, plans involving the use of the weapon that laid waste to Earth millennia earlier. Several young people endeavor to stop the carnage--among them, Tom, an apprentice at the London Museum; a young woman who tries to kill the museum's head historian; the historian's daughter, Katherine; and an apprentice in the Guild of Engineers. The pace of the violence-filled story is frenetic, the sense of helplessness is palpable, and not all the young people survive. A page-turner, this adventure in a city-eat-city world will have readers eagerly suspending disbelief to follow the twists and turns of the imaginative plot. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. 

Fiction.  Steampunk/YA.  2003.   373 pages.

Predator's Gold - Of the three, this one is my favorite.  More character development here, as Hester and Tom continue on their adventures.  Have to admit, however, that I won't be checking the library for the rest of the series.

Fiction.  Steampunk/YA.  2004.  336 pages.


  1. This series looks interesting. I will have to give it a read at some point!

  2. Evidently, the series is very popular. It wasn't quite my thing, but it was certainly different.