Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Rate: 3.5/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers):

A few years ago commercials for the movie adaption of Moral Engines were everywhere, but after watching the flop myself it was easy to see that too much emphasis on spent on special effects instead of developing the depth of the story or characters. At the time, I’d not realized, but wasn’t surprised to find out that this movie was based on a book. With the steampunk world portrayed by the movie proving intriguing, I was curious to find out what the big screen left out or didn’t capture from Reeve’s novel. After flying through this fast read, it became quickly apparent that Hollywood again botched a perfectly sound foundation with a script that rang hollow in comparison. Sure, Mortal Engines wasn’t the most riveting YA read, with the details and character depth not being as flushed out as I typically crave in literature, however the bones of the story were enough to spark the imagination and lead to a pretty enjoyable adventure. In many ways, the characters in the movie were one dimensional, being forced into restricting molds, especially when compared to the book characters, who despite being relegated to the same general roles, struggled with a wide variety of emotions, deriving from issues of morality or a nagging conscious. The ending of the novel, Moral Engines was brutal and full of death, which fit the rest of the book and the literary world in general, whereas  the movie fell flat with its general ‘happy as can be’ ending, and a story that wrapped up too neatly. Due to watching the movie first, upon finishing the book, it was as though pieces fell into place and we had now witnessed the fitting ending. I acknowledge that upon editing this overview section, the heavy comparison of movie to book is significantly different when compared to my typical reviews. With this particular review, I felt like a rather broken record if I’d stuck to my conventional faults by faulting Moral Engines as a typical YA read that didn’t contain the level of detail or depth I biased find satisfying in novels. Instead, I found the comparison of the movie to book much more interesting to briefly explore, especially as the bones of the novel had such spectacular potential when translated to the big screen, ultimately, falling short to a shallow script that focused on the visually stunning instead of general storytelling. Overall, Moral Engines proved to be an intriguing post apocalyptic world bent on resisting the inevitable changes that lie poised in the near future, regardless of the human life or history squandered in the process.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • The Historians were seriously my favorite! I hope they survived and I loved when they fought back!
  • Valentine and his daughter’s death at the end seemed so much more fitting than in the movie.
  • Tom and Hester’s relationship grew so slowly that I didn’t even see it coming, despite knowing that it happened in the book. Where will they go next?
  • Will more Stalkers be created? The hype of the new soldiers was cut short with the electromagnetic pulse have destroyed that discovery, which is probably a good thing.
  • Did the pulse effect the community around the Shield Wall?
  • What will happen to London? Did everyone get killed?
  • I totally missed that Bevis was killed! That last night scene was a bit crazy and hard to follow.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s