Review: A Darkling Plain

Series: Mortal Engines Quartet: #4

And so it ends. I’ve had some issues with this series (mostly with some of the relationship drama present throughout), but I’m glad I finished it.

Characterwise, I’m not sure I liked what happened to either Tom or Hester. Tom is entirely too naive. Pennyroyal literally shot him–and this is likely to kill him one day. He enslaved Tom’s daughter. And he doesn’t seem to care. He’s good to a fault and it just doesn’t seem real. Hester… is crazy and violent and full of a desire for vengeance and it’s only worse this time around. This time it doesn’t feel unreal–what does that say about me?–but it’s still sad that she ended up this way. Wren and Theo I liked a lot more. I wish they would have spent less time separated nearly missing one another again and again, but it works out.

Plotwise, you get some absolutely crazy coincidences where everyone just happens to end up showing up in the same place at the same time with various disparate plots all coming together. It strains belief, but it does make for some exciting scenes. It does bring the dangers of Old Tech, the city of London, and the problems with Municipal Darwinism full circle, which is neat.

The worldbuilding is still the most interesting bit of the series. The idea of thousands of years of ebb and flow technology in an apocalyptic world ruled by giant mobile cities that eat one another is as cool as it was in Mortal Engines. The Stalkers could have been a story by themselves, especially as we dig into some of the variations and hints at what they originally could have been. The lightning guns and airships are a wonderfully pulp adventury bit. Fun to read.

Overall, I think I liked A Darkling Plain more than either of the middle novels and it’s a fitting end to the series. I’m about read to read something else now.