It’s an all girl cast this weekend in two books that twist our realities into new stories for us to get lost in.
After the downsizing that followed the Sixty Minute War, and before the award winning Mortal Engines series, comes Fever Crumb. Fever is an orphan living in post apocalyptic London. Fever lives with the engineers in a giant metal head, and along with the rest of London she waits for the war that will come with the huge armoured fortress that is moving across the wastelands.
In this Mortal Engines Prequel Philip Reeves has created an unrecognisable London that is strangely familiar. The M25 is now the Moatway defence that circles the city, Battersea has become B@tersea, and someone that has annoyed you is a blogger. Fever is an interesting heroine. She has been brought up with engineers and takes a very rational view of life. Fever is also very smart and at the centre of the changes occurring in London. AS the city prepares for war we learn not only about the world of Mortal Engines but also about Fever Crumb’s own unusual past. Although not the easiest book to read, it does not always flow well, it is hard to put down. The plot line is intriguing, the changes in the world since the war are fascinating and the characters are really engaging. And the good news is that there are two more books in the prequel series and then there is the Mortal Engines Series to read (and a movie coming out in December 2018).
This is Jackie French’s third book reinventing Shakespeare’s classics, and in this book she takes a fresh look the Scottish play – Macbeth – through the eyes of Lady Macbeth’s servant – Annie Grasseyes,
Annie is not a witch, but when she is asked by her lady to to find a potion to stiffen Macbeth’s sinews Annie works with others to ‘charm’ Macbeth. Annie gets carried away, and the consequences that fateful day on the moor change her life forever. We all know the story of Macbeth and how that ends, but this book is really about Annie herself. Although she is caught up in the events of Shakespeare’s play this is really her story about her own love and loyalties and how she grows as a person.
I am not normally a fan of modernised Shakespeare, I really love the original plays and I do not understand why you would want to mess with something that has worked well for centuries. But as this is not strictly modernised version but rather setting a person in amongst those event I thought I would give it a go, and I am pleased I did. Jackie French is a great story teller, and the story of Annie’s role in the events leading to Macbeth’s rise and fall is one that many girls will love to read. The only thing I disliked in the book was that the original characters from Macbeth speak in Shakespearean English. This is passed off in the story as the way nobles speak, but I found it jarring and it took me out of the fantasy world of the story. For me it was a minor failing, and I could not wait to get to the end and see whether Annie would choose Murdoch, Thane of Greymouth, or Rab the Blacksmith as her happy ever after. I know who I was barracking for, but you will have to read it to see if your favourite won her heart.