Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve book review

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
infernal devices book cover by ian mcque

Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve book review 

I do my most of my book reading on the bus to work and back days a week.  And I recently finished the third novel in the Predator Cities Quartet, Infernal Devices while sitting on the bus and I had no one to share my delight with.

So here's my thoughts, direct from the Number 3 to Karori bus, just for you, dear reader.

First of all, when I first read Mortal Engines, I promptly reviewed it.

When it was Predator's Gold's turn, I didn't review it. Not because it was a bad book (it's great and perhaps even better than the first) I just didn't feel the world needed me to add yet another review to the pages of the internet.

But Infernal Devices kind of compels me to do so.

And I think I know why.

It's kind of 'same same but different' as the last two books and I think it's that 'difference' I'll explore.

Let's begin with saying (as I did in my Mortal Engines review) - I'm nearly forty, think Transformers and Star Wars are the best franchises around and I like to think I'm a rock god when I play the old six string.

I've already kissed the girl (and I liked it).

Which means I have nothing in common with teenagers and the drama that age bracket brings.

infernal devices book cover
So then, was I ready for more Hester and Tom angsty dramatics? Yes, I was.

And then author Philip Reeve turns the whole series on its head and makes the story mostly about their daughter Wren and what a nice surprise this was.

While Lee Childs may churn out story after story about Jack Reacher, it's nice to see that even though Reeve had built up a steam of success with his first two novels, he wasn't about to sit back and coast on that success.

So Wren then.

A classic moody teenager, sick of her mother, slightly tired of her dad (but loves him a bunch).

A girl that just wants to have fun.

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

After a thrilling opening where we see Hester's murderous and raging emotions brought to the fore, Wren is kidnapped by the Lost Boys (the one's introduced in Predator's Gold) which sets forth the adventure.

Many familiar characters from the prior two novels come into Wren's realm but in different contexts to that her mum and dad met those characters. And that's the different part of same same but different. Professor Pennyroyal gets to play the Mayor, Shrike and our  immortal beloved Anna Fang get to terrorize everyone in different ways but all the while, this novel feels perfectly set in the world of Mortal Engines.

Reeve's style is exactly as the prior novels with a handily paced set up, some nice clue dropping as to plot developments and as with the prior two novels, he brings the various plot arcs to a very nice and tidy conclusion.

If the book lacked anything, I wanted to see more of Hester Shaw in action. The psyche of that character as a broken human is a fantastic observation.

On its own as book, it's a handy read and fairly self contained but enjoyed more if you've read the prior novels.

Wren is nicely set up as a character that we can only presume will turn up in A Darkling Plain and some of the broader, more global elements and themes will pass over quite nicely as well setting up what we are sure will be a grand conclusion to the quadrilogy.

Update: We read a Darkling Plain and as our review will tell you, it's a formidable conclusion to Wren's story. 


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