Book Review: Scrivener’s Moon by Philip Reeve

SCRIVENER’S MOON by Philip Reeve
Series: Hungry City Prequels, #3
Publication Date: April 7th 2011 by Scholastic UK (Not available in US yet!)

Summary: In a future land once known as Britain, nomad tribes are preparing to fight a terrifying enemy – the first-ever mobile city. Before London can launch itself, young engineer Fever Crumb must journey to the wastelands of the North. She seeks the ancient birthplace of the Scriven mutants.

Review Overview:

  • My least favorite of the prequels, because I had a hard time getting into the plot
  • The fact that I read the Mortal Engines books recently got me really confused with my WoME timelines — oops, my fault
  • Philip Reeve’s writing is still amazing and though this one isn’t my most favorite, you still shouldn’t be missing out on his work

I hate to say this, but for me, SCRIVENER’S MOON is the weakest out of the three Hungry City Prequels. I think it is the plot itself that didn’t reach out to me, but as usual the writing was phenomenal.

Maybe it is simply bad timing on my part. I had recently read the entire Mortal Engines books which exist far ahead into the future of Fever Crumb’s world. Initially reading SCRIVENER’S MOON, I was unfortunately so confused as to what was going on. I had to sort out my World of Mortal Engines timeline mentally and pick apart what hasn’t happened yet in Fever’s world and what came to be London in the WoME. This of course was all my fault. I should have known that skipping ahead to the Mortal Engines books would mess me up with this series, but I couldn’t resist because Philip Reeve’s writing? It’s fantastic!

After reading so many of his books, I honestly don’t know why his writing still amazes and impresses me. It’s just so clever. I probably have said it a million times, but I’m going to say it again: I love how the English (or in the book’s case, ‘Anglish’) has evolved throughout the years. Just little terms that we wouldn’t think twice about now have become entirely different things in Fever’s future. For example, the old junk that were used as kind of like vintage décor: eye-pods or the derogatory term bloggers (hah!). I love Reeve’s use of language. It becomes like a little puzzle that I have to figure out while I read along. Sometimes, I don’t even think twice on some of the words because they seem so foreign… until it just clicks and a light bulb goes off in my brain.

I think what got to me about the plot is the striking contrast of SCRIVENER’S MOON to the previous book, A WEB OF AIR. The cover alone should have prepared me for the big difference. A WEB OF AIR is full of bright colors with a picture of a town by the ocean. On the other hand, SCRIVENER’S MOON looks dark and foreboding with the creepy Stalker on the front. Since I did read the Mortal Engines series, it also took the fun out of figuring out what would eventually happen. Getting there was still an experience and I’m glad to have read the book.

Fever Crumb is still one of my favorite leading ladies because she is just so unintentionally charming and funny. Not to mention, she is a complete nerd. Would you really be thinking about physics before you jump into a roaring river? Probably not, but Fever would! That scene just made me laugh out loud because it was such a Fever thing to do.

I’m a huge Arlo Thursday fan and while he isn’t left out in the book entirely, his presence was. Fever does mention him throughout the novel, but nothing is known about his fate. Philip Reeve has mentioned that he may be coming up with a novel as to what happens to Arlo Thursday, but I’ll have to wait a little bit longer to read more about Arlo.

Some things did start to click together, and if you have already read the Mortal Engines series, the end of the book turned out to be really cool because things start to piece together. I loved reading about the development of the theory of municipal Darwinism. It’s such a big term in the WoME and I loved reading about how it came to be.

SCRIVENER’S MOON may not be ranked that high rating-wise, but it doesn’t mean that you should look over it. Philip Reeve continues to be one of my favorite authors and I kind of have set a huge standard for his books. This one doesn’t quite make the mark, but it was still a very worthy read. I had to know more about Fever and the rise of new London. I’m glad to hear that the prequel series may not be completely over because at this point, I don’t think I can leave the World of Mortal Engines behind just yet.

As a side note: This book isn’t available yet in the United States; I ordered it via the Book Depository since I couldn’t wait for the US release. The second prequel book, A Web of Air, is due to be released this fall in the US by Scholastic Press.

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