12. A Darkling Plain

By: Philip Reeve

Level: YA

Series: The Hungry City Chronicles


Tom Natsworthy was partly responsible for the destruction of the traction city London.  Hester Shaw married Tom and weathered her own share of nightmares with the Stalker Grike and the revelation that her father was Thaddeus Valentine.  They had a daughter named Wren who left Anchorage-In-Vineland for adventure, where she met Theo Ngoni a Zagwan slave and former Green Storm aviator.  Other main characters include Fishcake a Lost Boy who is abandoned at all turns, and the Stalker Fang (aka Anna Fang) who is bent on making the world green, including wiping out humanity.

These characters begin book four of the Hungry City Chronicles separated and emotionally heartsick.  As always events roll out of control as war between the traction cities, cities that roam and prey on other traction cities, and the Green Storm, a collective who want to create a greener earth.  Proponents of the traction cities find the secret that London is not dead and Wren and Tom Natsworthy travel there when the city is betrayed.  A new superweapon is deployed and Tom Natsworthy flies off to confront the supposed perpetrators and become an advocate for New London and their project.  Meanwhile, Hester Natsworthy has been estranged from the rest of her family but is keeping company with Mr. Grike when she rescues Theo Ngoni who gives Hester a quest to follow.  That quest leads them to the traction cities and beyond where Hester and Theo are separated.  Theo gets an old letter from Wren and heads towards London where they meet together.  Hester continues to the Green Storm to stop the new superweapon.  The Green Storm and traction cities both converge on New London as the possible site of the new superweapon where a battle is fought.  Meanwhile, Tom, Hester and Mr. Grike travel to the real base and deal with the superweapon.

As the concluding volume to an extensive story, this book is quite satisfying.  The realistic quality of death and the emotional vagaries of humankind are explored well.  Social commentary is subtle and not overstated as other books of this genre can be about the environment.

Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 2:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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