The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Killing Moon


On holiday last week, as well as not particularly enjoying The Psychopath Test, I read a couple of other books. The first of which was Scrivener’s Moon, by Philip Reeve, the third prequel to the Mortal Engines series.

If you haven’t read the Mortal Engines series, I can’t recommend it too highly. I’d put it above Harry Potter, in terms of character, writing style, humour, imagination, and in particular, in terms of plotting. Reeve pulls fantastic twists out of nowhere. The good guys don’t necessarily survive. The only real flaw with the books is that I’m reading them as a 38-year-old, when they would have taken the top of my head off if I had read them thirty years ago.

The books are set in a post-apocalyptic future, and concern cities on wheels roaming the ruined Earth eating each other. At this point I can imagine your eyes glazing over so I should leap in and say that you’ll enjoy these books even if you don’t enjoy science fiction, they’re not steampunk, and while you’ll probably find them in the young adults section of Waterstone’s they’re as full of adult themes as anything you’ll find in the Alphabetical By Author section.

Scrivener’s Moon is one of best books in the series, if not the very best. I wasn’t totally blown away by its rather sedentary predecessor, Fever Crumb, but this book has it all. Action. Adventure. Death. Incredible battles. Mysterious pyramids. Mammoths. Explosions. Knife tricks. A joke about Ken Livingstone. A fabulous heroine in Fever Crumb and a brilliantly – brilliantly – characterised anti-hero in Charley Shallow. And most excitingly of all, it has the scene where...  spoilers. I read through the whole thing in one sitting, in about five hours (it’s not a short book).

But if you haven’t read the rest of the Mortal Engines series, you’ve got another six books to read first.  Buy and read them all. I can think of no books that I wish more that I had written, and there is no higher recommendation.

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