Larklight (Larklight, #1)

By Philip Reeve

Rating: 4 stars

This is a fairly slight young adult steampunk novel, set sometime in the mid 19th century, about two youngsters who live in a ramshackle old house called Larklight, and what happens when a Mr Webster comes to visit. The thing is, Larklight is in orbit somewhere beyond the moon and this is a world where Isaac Newton’s theories led to engines that could sail the solar system.

This is a living solar system where every planet and most moons are inhabited by aliens and are inhabitable by humans with no need for clunky spacesuits and there is an ecology in space. It’s a very readable throwback to the 19th/early 20th century vision of what the solar system was like, with the origin of the solar system, space pirates and giant spiders thrown in for good measure.

Written in a pseudo-Victorian style, as told by young Art Mumby, with extracts from his sister’s diary, to whom these adventures happen, it’s a very enjoyable, if fairly short, read, with some lovely illustrations by David Wyatt.

Book details

ISBN: 9781599900209
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Year of publication: 2006

Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet, #1)

By Philip Reeve

Rating: 5 stars

In a post-apocalyptic future, cities have become mobile and survive in a twisted form of Municipal Darwinism, with towns eating villages and cities eating towns, ripping them apart and incorporating their human and material resources into themselves. The most ancient City of them all, London, has returned from its hiding places to the great Hunting Ground in a mad dash east. Apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy and the murderous Hester Shaw are hurled from the city and must survive in the wilderness and discover the secret at the heart of London’s Guild of Engineers.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a riveting tale with lots of strong characters and a feeling that that none of the protagonists are necessarily safe, but it still packs a punch when someone does die. The world-building is rich and the descriptions are excellent, particularly those of London, in its new mobile form (well, I say ‘new’, although the novel is set over a thousand years after the creation of the Traction Cities). This is the first in a quartet of novels set in the same world, but I’m not entirely sure that I’d want to read the others, since the climax of this one was so poignant.

Book details

ISBN: 9781407110912
Publisher: Scholastic
Year of publication: 2001

Powered by WordPress