What to Read After... Mortal Engines

Published on: 28 January 2019 Author: Anna McKerrow

An exciting, original, steampunk dystopia, Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines won the Gold Award at the Nestle Smarties Book Prize in 2002 and the Blue Peter Prize in 2003.

The cover of Mortal Engines

Illustration: Ian McQue

The first book in the Mortal Engines Quartet (followed by Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain) is now a thrilling film by Peter Jackson. If your child (or young teen) is addicted to this series and refuses to read anything else, here are some suggestions for other amazing books... and we want to hear your ideas too!

For fans of the dystopian setting

The cover of Maggot Moon

Illustration: Julian Crouch

Readers in Year 7-9 will enjoy Sarah Govett's The Territory trilogy, an eco-dystopia that combines environmental threats with pressures on young people. Or Sally Garner's Maggot Moon is a thought-provoking dystopian 1950s Britain ruled by the oppressive Motherland.

For more exciting fantasy or science fiction

The cover of The Wild Robot

Illustration: Peter Brown

Teens could try Eugene Lambert's The Sign of One trilogy set on Wrath, a barren planet where being a twin is a crime, while younger readers will enjoy Taran Matharu's Summoner series, which has all their favourite fantasy themes with well-rounded characters, too.

Also, The Wild Robot is an unusual but brilliant book about a robot, Roz, who finds herself marooned on a desert island.

For more steampunk...

The cover of Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic

Illustration: Armand Baltazar

Children might enjoy Peter Bunzl's Cogheart trilogy, which explores an alternative Victorian era, full of silver ships and mechanical marvels, or Vashti Harrison's Brightstorm, the story of 12-year-old twins Maudie and Arthur who journey to South Polaris.

Lastly, Armand Baltazar's visually stunning Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic is a rollicking timeslip adventure combining dinosaurs and steam-powered ships in a quest to defeat an evil, mysterious organisation.

For other brilliant characters and unusual worlds

The cover of The Legend of Sally Jones

Illustration: Jakob Wegelius

Children could try Juman Malouf's The Trilogy of Two, about twins that are musical prodigies – with magical gifts - and grow up in a circus.

Alternatively, Jakob Wegelius' The Murderer's Ape (and its graphic novel prequel, The Legend of Sally Jones) is an original, well-told tale of an ape who, with the help of a vivid cast of characters, fights for the release of her best friend, who has been falsely accused of murder.

Join in!

As always, we wanted to hear your recommendations, and to get you started, we asked School Librarian of the Year Emma Suffield for her thoughts:

'Fans of Mortal Engines' fantasy setting would also love the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, and those wanting more steampunk could try Terror Train by Terry Deary and Show Stopper by Hayley Barker.'

We can always rely on you, and once again, you came up with heaps of brilliant suggestions! Here are just some of our favourites...

More Philip Reeve, of course!

The covers of Railhead and Larklight

If you're on to a good thing, why stop? Lots of you suggested trying more books by Philip, with Railhead getting love from @bookthesp1, @WstonesClifton, @MrEFinch and @Lurkio38 (who described it as 'another brilliant series'). 

@bookthesp1 also recommended the Mortal Engines prequels, including Fever Crumb, while @konallis said that they think Philip's Larklight trilogy is 'superior' to Mortal Engines - definitely worth a look, then!

Garth Nix, Philip Pullman and Ursula Le Guin

The cover of Sabriel

Illustration: Sebastian Ciaffaglione

Some names just kept on popping up! 'The two that spring to mind are The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix and His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman,' said @HHALibrary. 'They're fantasy series which are brimming with ideas and they get away from all the wizards, dragons and so on.'

It seems they were on to something - @WstonesClifton also recommended Pullman and The Old Kingdom, saying it's 'fantasy, not sci-fi, but has a similar sense of humour', @WCBLibrary is a Northern Lights fan and @bookthesp1 described Pullman and Ursula Le Guin - another popular choice - as 'world builders'.

And if you like all those @konallis has another Garth Nix recommendation for you: the Keys to the Kingdom series.

The Guardians by John Christopher

The cover of The Guardians

Illustration: Anton Petrov

@Readitdaddy had a pretty unarguable reason for recommending this one: 'If kids are going to get into dystopia, do it via one of the masters of the genre.' Fair enough!

For more steampunk

The cover of Cogheart

We suggested it and it seems you really love Peter Bunzl's Cogheart - its name kept coming up, so definitely check it out if you haven't already. @konallis suggested it alongside Joan Aiken's alternative histories, while @CandyGourlay suggested Cogheart along with Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan.

Leviathan was also recommended by @WCBLIBRARY along with China Miéville's Un Lun Dunif you're looking for 'other worlds with elements of steampunk'.

Neil Gaiman

The cover of The Graveyard Book

Illustration: Chris Riddell

'I was bereft after finishing the Mortal Engines quartet,' @one_to_read admitted. 'I mean really bereft'. So we'll definitely pay attention to his suggestions about which books helped and were 'enjoyed enormously' - The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman's work also came recommended by @HazeleyLibrary, who suggested trying Stardust.

More ideas

@WstonesClifton had a whole list of suggestions, including William Nicholson's The Wind Singer and The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, while Ryan Graudin's Invictus was named as a good YA option by @ClassBooks1. Oh, and @HazeleyLibrary also recommended The Lunar Chronicles by Melissa Meyer - Mrs F loved it, apparently, so give it a try...

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