Author: Philip Reeve
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 16/11/01
My rating: ★★★.5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
London is a city on wheels – a future city like you’ve never known before. In the terrible aftermath of the Sixty Minute War, cities which survived the apocalypse became predators, chasing and feeding on smaller towns. Now London is hunting down its prey, getting ready to feed. But as the chase begins, Tom uncovers a secret – a secret full of deadly consequences. Soon he is plunged into a world of unkillable enemies, threatened by a weapon that will tear his life apart…
I picked it up ahead of the movie release, to begin with I loved it. After awhile it started to lack something, some of the things that bothered me didn’t help things either. I’ll get them out the way first and then move into what I did like.
A couple of things I really didn’t like, at one point Asian people were described as being “yellow”, I found this offensive, I also can’t work out why, the character showed no hint of being racist so the description felt out of place too. The second this was the constant use of the word “ugly” to describe Hester. While I get this to begin with, Tom has never seen someone with scarring or disfigurement before, this still happens at the end of the book where she is described as “ugly and wonderful”. I don’t understand why it’s still used when Tom’s thoughts and feelings towards her have changed. The first point particularly bothers me for the obvious reason.
Now for the things I did like. I really loved the concept of a dystopian future with moveable cities and hunting smaller cities. Shrike, a stalker (the dead reanimated and turned into cyborgs) is probably my favourite character, the relationship between him and another character (it’s a spoiler) was incredibly interesting to watch unfold. Hester and Tom, I never quite got them, usually I’d hate that but I think it worked in this case. I love a good bad guy, Valentine lacked something though and spent a large portion of the book elsewhere which was a little disappointing, I’d like to have seen more of him. I also felt the ending was a little anticlimactic and final considering there are three more books in the series, though I’ve since found out it was originally intended as a standalone which explains that. I don’t think I have anymore to add to this without spoiling the end for people who want to read it. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I’ll read the second book as I have it and see if things pick up for me.