“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.
Thaddeus Valentine, London’s Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. “Look at what your Valentine did to me!” she screams. “Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!” And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.
In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism — and betrayal.
One thing to say, I regret not reading this sooner. This book has everything it needs. Action, adventure, betrayal, world building, character development and plot twist. Not only that but it sets in a steampunk world full of airships, pirates, killing robots and cities that can move.
The story follows a protagonist called Tom that has got betrayed by his boss and the head historian of London, Valentine by getting pushed by him off the city along with a girl who has a terrible past tried to kill Valentine, Hester. The two ends up going on an adventure together, going through many obstacles along the way trying to get back to London. Meanwhile back in London, Valentine went missing so his daughter, Katherine decided to take charge and figure out what Valentine has been up to with a help from a new friend.
The only tiny complaint I will say is there is not enough Miss Fang. I love her character, she is friendly, sophisticated and an absolute badass and became one of my favourite characters. The character development is amazing, Katherine used to be my least favourite character when she was first mentioned in the book but then she developed to have her own mind instead of just following her father’s footsteps which makes me admire her.
Overall, I think the book is exciting and it makes me urge to read the sequel thanks to the cliffhanger at the end. You end up loving the heroes, hating the bad guys and some you just feel sorry for, and if you haven’t read this book yet I suggest you read it now, especially when the film is coming out.
I give this book 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Happy Reading! 😀