Most awesome book 4.5 stars! "It’s a town-eat-town world.” –Municipal DarwinismMunicipal Darwinism is a concept that hooked me right from the first page. Imagine a society where hungry cities roam, searching for prey. Imagine these huge cities, shaped like giant steel tiered wedding cakes rumbling around the countryside gobbling up smaller towns and settlements. Imagine the noise, the dust, and the deep tracks in the mud. This is the intriguing world of the Mortal Engines.This is a world set far into the future. Society has been destroyed by atomics and viruses in the Sixty Minute War. Cities became traction cities because of earthquakes, volcanic activity, and advancing glaciers. This book is full of awesomeness! The author’s attention to details and his story telling talent made this a rich and textured read. The world building was, for lack of a better word, awesome. The technology is interesting. There are elements of steampunk. Everything usable is recycled. Society is even organized in hierarchies, but in this world, everyone is assigned to a guild. There be pirates in this book! There are airships, even an Airship city! There are resurrected men, a type of robot/zombie/Borg-like creature. There is even the mystical town of Shan Gao, a city protected from traction cities by its geography. This book is a feast for the eyes. I adored the main characters. Tom Natsworthy is a young, idealistic third class apprentice in the Guild of Historians. This means that he does a lot of dusting and cleaning of artifacts. He likes his job and is very loyal to the city of London. Tom lost his parents a few years ago in the Great Tilt (which is never explained in the book. I’m assuming the city tilted and some people got squished). Hester Shaw is truly an interesting character. Seven years ago, Hester’s parents were murdered by Valentine. Hester was also attacked and left for dead. Hester is heavily scarred by her ordeal and has vowed to kill Valentine. Valentine’s daughter Katherine plays the role of dutiful daughter until she learns of her father’s nefarious activities. Aided by the engineer Bevis Pod (love that name!), Katherine seeks out the truth. I found these characters endearing and I felt like cheering them on when they encountered obstacles.And these characters encountered many obstacles. Tom and Hester are thrown off the city, captured by pirates, rescued by an airship captain, chased by a resurrected man and more. Added to this mix of adventure was the mysterious MEDUSA, some kind of weapon from an earlier civilization. This is a clever, well written book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading Predator’s Gold, the next book in this series. By the way, I handed my 11 year old this book and he was also hooked - he loves it!