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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reeve does it again - Astounding, November 2, 2009
This review is from: Fever Crumb (Mortal Engines Quartet 5, Prequel) (Hardcover)
When does a prequel then extend an original series, ( in this instance the Mortal Engines Quartet ), and when is it just a stand-alone companion? Well, I don't know, although I do think of the Quartet now a Quintet I also take other reviewers' points that it is really on its Todd.

Ok, minor muse/digression over, this is a great book. Philip Reeve brings a serious story to you in such a delightfully light, witty style, it is almost a paradox. You can be still on the dregs of a worthy chuckle when next thing someone is dead. But, I do stress. this is not a comedy as such.

The story involves a foundling, a baby named Fever, who grows up with the most practical of all breeds, the Order of Engineers. This is set in London, eons, ( well, centuries but eons sounds better ) before the main stories of the Quartet. But there are similarities as it is still well beyond our own time and cities are at least isolated grand fortresses even if not to the degree later on.

We are brought into the tale not too long after a civil uprising rids the city of its tyrannical rulers, the Scriven, these are a highly intelligent race who do not believe themselves to be human as we are, Homo Superior they jokingly refer to themselves. But their tyranny finally sees something snap and they were duly despatched by otherwise ordinary Londoners, who rise up and reclaim their city. But, and I know not everyone likes these too much in books ( myself I don't care a jot as long as it's still a good read ), the use of many flashbacks for certain characters let's us in on the time of Scriven rule, thus allowing greater understanding of current events.

I won't relate specifics, the book is too new to inadvertently introduce class one spoilers, but, I will say this, Fever, due to being brought up by the Engineers who of course come with a Spock-like devotion to reason and logic, goes through childhood and adolescence void of all emotions, either squashed out of her or due to it being ( almost . . . ) totally absent in her paradoxically caring but cold clinical guardians.

Mr Reeve, after reading this, is for my money, the best family-cum-kids author on the planet, just edging out the other Philip of Lyra fame and of course, JK. His writing style, is quite simply, fantastic, so much so it can make a long long tale seem like a breeze ( actually, none of his books are that long on their own, but I read the Quartet without breaks so it seemed like a mammoth single book. ) His humour comes in two main forms, he either makes you chuckle through bringing you the foibles of life in a delightfully whimsical style, mainly in dialogue but in the narrative on the odd occasion ( wait till you read the lines about the Londoners shouting who they want for their new leader ), or, he shoots you with a humorous buckshot, made of a literary alloy of in-jokes and references to our own culture here and now. Wait until you read who the LA style mantra-bleating zealots actually proclaim, I really did chuckle at that.

He also pays a clever but covert tribute to his peer, Philip Pullman, one or two of the chapters could just be in Lyra's haunts, brick marshes, alternative folks with coloured barges etc. I liked that, I really did.

Finally, whether a Quartet still, or now a Quintet, please, if new to the whole saga, do start with this, it's just like the later Star Wars films, all six make sense if you start with the Phantom menace, but here of course, it's Fever Crumb.
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