Infernal Machines


I’ve been on a bit of a reading bent of late, starting with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which I still haven’t written a review for), but Infernal Machines, the third book in the series which started with Mortal Engines, is the first one off my shelf of to-be-read books (I keep buying new ones and reading those instead).

As with the previous books the pace is high and the action non-stop. This story brings back many of the characters in previous books, but takes place fifteen years later, when the main characters in the previous books, Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw, have a daughter, Wren, and have settled down from their adventurous early life. Squirrelled away in a long-forgotten part of the world all is quiet, too quiet for Wren who desires adventure, so when the Lost Boys turn up looking for something, she helps them and gets pulled into a tale even she will wish to end.

Almost sentimental in parts, with some easy-to-guess twists, but they’re made up with non-stop action and the constant drive forwards. Tom and Hester’s relationship, always seemingly hung on a knife edge, finally comes to a breaking point, with Tom becoming softer and Hester almost on her way to becoming as cold and hard as her father and relishing the time away from the dullness of home. Many of the plot points, stories and locations of the earlier books come back to haunt us, which is both comforting and shows the larger plot Reeve obviously has in place (book four, The Darkling Plain, has long been released).

Altogether, an enjoyable, if not especially challenging, read with characters and ideas that step well away from the stereotypes used by many authors. My only question is why someone hasn’t made these into films yet, just imagine a traction city chasing a smaller town across the scorched Earth, that would be a sight to behold.

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Reviewed: 21st August 2007