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Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve(1966- )
Philip Reeve is a UK author and illustrator. You can read excerpts of his novels at THE HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES Website or THE LARKLIGHT Website. Or learn more about teh author at Philip Reeve’s website.

Philip Reeve talks RAILHEAD & Easter eggs

Today Fantasy Literature welcomes Philip Reeve, whose most recent novel, Railhead, is accruing rave reviews (including ours). Jana chatted with him about Easter eggs within his novel, his thoughts on grimdark, and more. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Railhead!

Jana Nyman: I recently discovered that Railhead is being adapted to film, so congratulations are absolutely in order! How excited are you to see your novel morph from page to screen? Are you involved with the process at all?

Philip Reeve: Yes, Warner Brothers bought the rights for the director Doug Liman, and I believe they have someone at work on a script — I’m not involved in the process in any way. Doug Liman’s prev... Read More

Mortal Engines: A new brand of fantasy for the 21st century

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

In the years beyond the 30th century, after life as we know it is destroyed in the Sixty Minutes War, the world is divided into three: the Static communities, who live in farms and buildings firmly stationed on the earth, the aviators, who travel the Bird Roads in the sky, and the Traction Cities, the giant cities on engineered wheels who live by the Municipal Darwinism — the big cities devour the little cities for their resources. And the biggest Traction City of them all is London, on the move for larger hunting grounds and more resources.

Living in London are two very different young people — Tom, a Third Class Apprentice in the History Guild, and Katherine, an upper class noble daughter of the famed archeologist Thaddeus Valentine, whom both of them adore for his bravery and exciting exploits. Yet after London destroys the small town of Salthook whilst the three of them are touring the Gut (t... Read More

Predator’s Gold: The action keeps rolling

Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve

We Will Unleash a Storm that will Scour the Earth.

It had been a while since I'd read Philip Reeve's first installment in the Hungry City quartet, and so my memories of the events that happened in Mortal Engines were a little hazy. However, nothing could make me forget the imaginative post-apocalyptic world that Reeve had created, in which massive Traction-Cities trundled across the wastelands according to the laws of Municipal Darwinism; eating any smaller city that crossed their paths. There was a massive death-toll by the end of the book, in which many of the principal characters had been killed (to the point of desensitisation), but our protagonists Tom and Hester managed to ride off into the sunset in the battered old airship "Jenny Haniver."
Read More

Infernal Devices: You don’t know what you’re missing

Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve

It has been sixteen years since the events of Predator’s Gold, and the Traction City of Anchorage has been peacefully settled on the Dead Continent for years, undisturbed by the war that rages throughout the rest of the world between the adherents of Municipal Darwinism and a terrorist faction of the Anti-Tractionist League.

Okay, if you haven't read the previous two books in THE HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES, then you probably didn't understand a word of that sentence. To recap, Philip Reeve has created one of the most vivid and exciting fantasy worlds in recent fiction, a post-apocalyptic world where massive itinerant cities roam the wastelands, preying on smaller cities and static communities. Those that want to put a stop to this dog-eat-dog world, as well as protect their homelands from the predator cities and "bring back the green," are k... Read More

A Darkling Plain: Raw creativity and rich world-building

A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve

Whatever becomes of us, we’ll be together…

I read the first installment of THE HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES back in 2003 with Mortal Engines and now I finally come to the end of the four-part story with A Darkling Plain. There is still a prequel to enjoy, but for all intents and purposes, this is the last chapter of Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw's adventures in a world filled with airships, traction cities, predator suburbs, static communities and terrifying animated human corpses fitted with robotic parts called Stalkers. With the title derived from Matthew Arnold’s "Dover Beach," (“and we are here as on a darkling plain, swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night”) a line which perfectly encompasses the tone and content of the story, Read More

Fever Crumb: Prequel to the fantastic Hungry City Chronicles

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Fever Crumb is a prequel of sorts to Philip Reeve’s fantastic HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES, which started with Mortal Engines. I say “of sorts” in that it’s set in the prehistory of the HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES world, but far back enough in time that Fever Crumb doesn’t act as a direct lead-in to the larger series: instead of giving us more of the same characters, it sets up the major concepts and incipient events of the series. Though it’s set earlier, I recommend beginning with the later books, because while I enjoyed Fever Crumb, the HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES have a much stronger impact (think starting the NARNIA series with Read More

A Web of Air: Reeve manages the perfect balance

A Web of Air by Philip Reeve

You Can’t Murder the Truth!

The second of the prequel trilogy to Philip Reeve's wonderful Hungry Cities series continues Reeve's imaginative, exhilarating, unpredictable story of life in a post-apocalyptic world where seagulls have rudimentary communication skills, people live in houses that can be hoisted up and down hillsides, and an ominous event known as the Downsizing has left technology beyond the understanding of the human population.

In this brave new world lives Fever Crumb, an engineer who has left the city of London in order to join the traveling theatre known as the Lyceum, escaping her newfound parents and caring for two children orphaned during the course of Fever Crumb. Though she enjoys her independence, she feels that her talen... Read More

Scrivener’s Moon: Running out of words to describe how wonderful this series is

Scrivener’s Moon by Philip Reeve

What is to Become of Fever Crumb?

Once again I come to review a Philip Reeve book, and once again I'm astounded to find that no one else seems to have anything to say about it. It's also gotten to the stage where it is getting harder and harder to write coherently about Reeve's books when all I want to do is squee indiscriminately. Every time I open a book in THE HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES, I know without a doubt that I'm in for a fantastic read, and I'm running out of words to describe how wonderful I think they all are.

Scrivener’s Moon is the third book in the prequel trilogy to the original HUNGRY CITY quartet, following Fever Crumb and Web of Air. Set in a post-apocalyptic world after a mysterious event known as the ... Read More

Night Flights: A brief but welcome return to the world of MORTAL ENGINES

Night Flights by Philip Reeve

Night Flights (2018) by Philip Reeve is a collection of three short stories set in the world of the MORTAL ENGINES QUARTET (also known as the HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES), and focuses on the character of Anna Fang, a fearless aviatrix. Its timing seemed to be connected to the release of Peter Jackson's filmic adaptation of Mortal Engines, the first book in the series, and Reeve's touching dedication at the front of the book confirmed this. It reads: "To Jihae, who plays Anna Fang with such style and grace that I realized she needed some more stories." Aww.

Set within a framing device of Anna going about her daily business, she recalls three adventures of her past. "Fr... Read More

The Illustrated World of MORTAL ENGINES: A great companion piece

The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

The film adaptation of Mortal Engines may have been a disappointment, but at least its release led to more material from Philip Reeve — not only this book, but a series of short stories starring Anna Fang, and new reprints of the original MORTAL ENGINES quartet. So it all works out well!

The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines (2018) is a standard tie-in volume that comes with many a book franchise, in which the world of Mortal Engines is explored in more detail, complete with maps, time-lines, illustrations, profiles of characters, and other little tidbits that adds depth and flavour to the world-building.

Here the presentation... Read More

Here Lies Arthur: Philip Reeve is better than this

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Here Lies Arthur is a YA deconstruction/demystifying of the King Arthur legend. And a pretty thorough demystifying at that. Philip Reeve doesn't simply knock Arthur down a peg or two from chivalric magic-sword-wielding king of the Round Table, say, by making him simply a Roman general or an English chieftan who rallies the locals against the Saxons. No, Reeve takes him all the way down; in this incarnation Arthur is a small-minded petty brigand whose major qualities are that he is: boorish, rude, not too bright, vulgar, untrustworthy, unruly, violent (including beating his wife), crude, and (literally) murderous.

In short, there is almost nothing redeeming about him. In fact, take out the “almost” — there is nothing. What he does have is Myrrdin (Merlin), a charlatan of a magician but a master of manipulation and propaganda. Myrrdin is also a man with a vision and a ... Read More

No Such Thing as Dragons: Tweens will certainly enjoy

No Such Thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve

No Such Thing as Dragons, by Philip Reeve, is aimed at a somewhat younger group than his excellent Mortal Engines series, though it has moments that might be a bit beyond that younger target audience.

Set in a medieval time period, No Such Thing as Dragons follows a young mute boy named Ansel who is sold by his father to Brock, the famed itinerant dragon-slayer. As Ansel soon learns, however, Brock doesn’t much believe in dragons, though he does believe in the rewards that come with pretending to slay them. Eventually, the two make their way to a mountain village where something is terrifying the villagers. Is it an actual dragon? A different beast? Something else entirely?

Brock and Ansel, joined unwillingly by an old con-man acquaintance of... Read More

Railhead: Imaginative and entertaining from beginning to end

Railhead by Philip Reeve

If the idea of a heist aboard a sentient train traveling at faster-than-light speeds appeals to you; if said heist involves assumed identities, the theft of a very old and valuable artifact, and a criminal thumbing his nose at a family-run corporation/empire; if you like believable romance and honest-to-goodness fun, then Philip Reeve’s latest YA novel, Railhead, is for you. (If none of that appeals to you, read on anyway: I may be able to change your mind.)

In a galaxy filled with novelties like sentient trains who travel at faster-than-light speeds on specially crafted rails through K-gates stationed on nearly a thousand worlds and moons, Zen Starling is a light-fingered teen who lives with his mother and older sister Myka; their mother suffers from paranoid delusions, and every time her f... Read More

Black Light Express: Does what every good sequel should

Reposting to include Rebecca's new review.

Black Light Express by Philip Reeve

Black Light Express (2017) is Philip Reeve’s just-as-good-as-the-first-book follow up to Railhead, continuing the exhilarating romp while expanding the universe and its inhabitants, as well as digging a bit more deeply into the hidden history of the created world and offering up some more page time to some of the first book’s secondary characters. Warning: there will be some inevitable spoilers for book one (you can just stop here with the take-away that I recommend the duology). First spoiler begins in the very next line!

So at the end of Railhead, Nova and Zen had opened a gate to a whole other set ... Read More

Station Zero: A superb conclusion to an excellent YA trilogy

Reposting to include Rebecca's new review.

Station Zero by Philip Reeve

With Station Zero (2019), Philip Reeve brings to an end the RAILHEAD trilogy begun with Railhead and Black Light Express, and if it’s not a perfect conclusion, it’s pretty darn close, leaving you at the end with a sense of satisfying, even gratifying, resolution tinged with a lingering bittersweetness that makes the final result all the more richly rewarding. With this Cosmic Railroad trilogy (not an official title) and his earlier PREDATOR CITIES/MORTAL ENGINES work, Reeve has served up three of the m... Read More

Other books by Philip Reeve

Larklight — (2006-2008) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Arthur (Art) Mumsby and his irritating sister Myrtle live with their father in a huge and rambling house called Larklight… that just happens to be traveling through outer space. When a visitor called Mr. Webster arrives for a visit, it is far from an innocent social call. Before long Art and Myrtle are off on an adventure to the furthest reaches of space, where they will do battle with evil forces in order to save each other — and the universe. A fantastically original Victorian tale set in an outer space world that might have come from the imaginations of Jules Verne or L Frank Baum, but has a unique gravitational pull all its own…

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Goblins — (2012-2014) Ages 9-12. Publisher: This is a wild world of magical creatures and heroic adventure from the extraordinary imagination of Philip Reeve. The squabbling goblins who live in the great towers of Clovenstone spend their time fighting and looting. Only clever young Skarper understands that dark magic created by a vanquished sorcerer is rising again. From the lands of men come fortune-seekers — and trolls, giants, cloud-midens, boglins, swamp monsters, tree-warriors and bloodthirsty goblins are swept into a fabulous magical conflict to thrill all fantasy fans.

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsOliver and the Seawigs — (2013) Publisher: Publication Date: July 22, 2014 | Age Level: 7 – 10 | Grade Level: 2 – 5. A lively step up from early chapter books, this seafaring romp is packed with hilarious art, lovable misfits, meddlesome monkeys, and tons of kid appeal. When Oliver’s explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?