A few years ago I read a quartet of books called Mortal Engines - set in a post apocalyptic world where most cities are motorised and live under a principal called 'Municipal Darwinism' - and I absolutely loved them. So, Imagine my excitement when a few months ago I discovered the author Philip Reeve had written a couple of prequels (and after a quick look on Wikipedia it appears he may be writing more!) called Fever Crumb and A Web of Air. Unfortunately it was a while before I was able to read them and at about 6:30am this morning, after failing to fall asleep all night, I finished A Web of Air.
The two prequels are set around the first novels namesake: Fever Crumb - A young heterochromatic girl taken in by London's Order of Engineers after being found abandoned as a baby. Unlike the main series there are not yet any motorised cities at the beginning of this book and so London is still a static settlement. After spending her life being raised in the 'rational' environment of the Order Fever is sent to help an archaeologist who needs help with a dig and soon enough (without going into too much detail) Fever finds her life threatened as she is mistaken for a member of an old mutated tyrant race called the Scriven who once ruled London, this is also alongside a rising threat from the north as a barbarian race who move on motorised settlements known as The Movement are moving towards London with their own agenda. Throughout the book Fever is thrown into life or death situations against her will and soon enough by the end of the book (which I'd say was predictable by from start, but only because of the original series) London sets to become motorised.
After leaving London at the end of the first book Fever is travelling with the Lyceum theatre, working below the stage with the new electrical lighting set to distinguish the Lyceum from other theatres. The story takes place when they stop in the city of Mayda, built inside the crater of what I can only imagine was a nuke during the 'Downsizing'. Within this city is a young boy named Arlo Thursday, who is set to unlock the mystery of flight which have been lost for centuries. It is not all good news however as there are some who don't want the mysteries of flight recovered. Of course, Fever finds herself tangled up in the trouble yet again, all while still trying to come to terms with the irrational world outside of the Order as well as emotions she previously looked down upon as irrational. Although I think the ending might not have been the best choice [!SPOILER if the plane was destroyed and flying looks to be outlawed for generations to come, what was the whole point of the book? We still don't know how flight returned to the world. SPOILER!] it was still as brilliant as the rest of the Mortal Engines world and leaves me hoping beyond hope that there is another, because after 6 books I am still not ready to let go of Reeve's enthralling world.
The way Fever starts isolated from the real world in the first book to being thrown straight into it by the second makes you really feel a connection with Fever, because you are there as she comes to terms with the irrational world, irrational emotions and changes into her own person.
If you have read and loved the original quartet then it is an absolute must that you read these prequels as you will undoubtedly adore them too and it's always fun when you see names and things you recognise from the originals (including a certain Stalker) and know how Fever's world is set to evolve. Just like the rest of my posts seem to end I recommend that if you haven't read the originals, that you read them too! I suppose it doesn't really matter if you read the prequels first or after the original series because they are completely independent series. These books can easily be enjoyed by children and adults alike and I near guarantee you'll get sucked into them too. This'll also be my first excuse to use this fancy Amazon widget thing, although I can only seem to use the US site, so it's in dollars. I'm also not able to find them all with the same style of cover deign which bothers my sense of neatness.