Recently read and massively enjoyed Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve. It’s a prequel to his brilliant ‘Mortal Engines’ quartet of novels. Without wishing to spoiler, it’s set a few hundred years before the events of those novels, telling the story of how London stopped being a stationary city and started to become a city that rolled around on caterpillar tracks.
I don’t gush often but when I do I gush a lot. What I love about these books is Philip’s extraordinary imaginative powers in building such an awe-inspiringly vivid, detailed and original fictional universe. I mean, I make up stuff, but I’m not this good. It’s not really fair to compare, but I’d say I got more pleasure out of the ‘Mortal Engines’ books than I did out of either the Harry Potters or 'His Dark Materials', and I loved both of those. Without wishing to raise unfair expectations, I can’t recommend these books enough. I’m always buying them for people as gifts. Buy them for your kids if you have kids and if you don’t have kids, either have kids and buy them the books or skip the whole having kids part and buy the books for yourself.
He’s written a couple of other book series, and as much as I enjoyed the cyberpunk stylings of ‘Larklight’ I prefer the ‘Mortal Engines’ as they’re written for a slightly older readership which means I can pretend they are novels for grown-ups merely written in a very clear and concise style.
The other great thing about the books, though perhaps not so great for Philip’s bank account, is that they are pretty much unfilmable. I mean, you could do it, but you’d need hundreds of millions of pounds. It’s a story which will always be more spectacular on the page.