Title: Predator’s Gold
Author: Philip Reeve
Genre: Fantasy/ Steampunk/ Adventure
Publication date: 2003
Fleeing from an Anti-Tractionist sect, the Green Storm, Tom and Hester are left drifting in the frozen Ice Wastes, slowly dying of cold after the Jenny Haniver’s engines have failed. They are saved at the last minute, finding Anchorage, a once-beautiful ice city that has fallen on hard times. Crippled by plague, there are barely fifty souls on Anchorage now, and the teenage margravine has made a desperate choice. They are heading for America, the Dead Continent.
Predator’s Gold is the second book of The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve and I have to admit, the story is growing on me. I am still blown by Reeve‘s imagination but contrary to what I expected, he raised the bar even higher with this book.
The story follows Hester and Tom two years after the destruction of London as they make their living on board Henny Hanniver, the aircraft that previously belonged to Anna Fang. Trying to stay clear from the other cities and the Anti-Traction league they find themselves chased by a extremist group that is part of the Anti-Traction league only to be saved in the last possible moment by the famous Anchorage city which turns out to be just a shadow of its previous glory.
I love the diversity in this book and the expansion of the world that the author builds. We meet a whole new ice city with its strange customs and people; we spend a lot of time aboard the Jenny Haniver and jump around to meet the Lost Boys, the Dead Continent and whatnot. And the drama jumps as they meet the magravine of Achorage (their so-called ruler) which is a pretty, petite fifteen-year-old chick. I don’t enjoy love triangles that much but most people do and this one was very realistic if you ask me.
I was also happy that this book featured more of Hester’s point of view and I realized I liked her more when she was away from Tom. She is eager to protect him (because let’s face it, he is useless if not for his mind) but when she is around him she turns into moping shadow or a love-struck teenager with tunnel vision. Since they go separated for a time in the book she started acting like her old self and I loved it. She was a strong, determined character to begin with and I missed her. I especially loved her at the end of the book when she came in guns blazing 😀
There were also a lot of new characters (since, SPOILER ALERT most from the first book died, but you should know that i you’re reading this review) which were super interesting although not quite I would call likable. But I am starting to grow tired of Tom, he is just boring – the way he thinks, the way his personality shifts, his decisions… he is a mess and annoying one at that.
Predator’s Gold was also another reminder why I hate third omniscient point of view. It is true only a few people successful employ this type of writing but I am afraid the way Philip Reeve do it does not work for me. I don’t mind multiple POV, I do that myself often, but when the point of view starts jumping in the middle of chapter or even paragraph I can hear my teeth screeching 😀
I would give Predator’s Gold a 4/5 since in my opinion plotline raised to the challenge and surpassed my expectations. I now realize that my issues with the characters (apart from the drama queen bursts) are more with their traits rather than how the author wrote them – the people Philip Reeve created annoy me, not how he created it. They look like perfectly believable humans, I just don’t like most of them 😀
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Predator’s Gold?