Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Darkling Plain

A Darkling Plain

Philip Reeve
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic Press, 2012   ISBN: 978-0545222143

The guns are quiet for the first time in years. The Traction Cities and their mortal enemy, the Green Storm, are observing a truce while efforts are made to bring about peace between those who believe in Municipal Darwinism and those who think that Traction Cities are evil. There are those who don't want a peace however. There are the men and women who thrive on war; those who cannot set aside their hate of the enemy; and those Green Storm followers who believe that the Stalker Fang will rise again to fight against the hungry cities.

Theo is enjoying the quiet life at his family home in Zagwa when Lady Naga, the broker of the truce, comes to the static city for talks. Quite by accident, Theo finds himself saving Lady Naga when an attempt is made on her life. He is then asked to accompany the wife of General Naga - the leader of Green Storm - back to her home. What follows are a series of dangerous and often terrible adventures during which Theo does his best to protect and save Lady Naga. He is reluctantly joined in this effort by Hester Natsworthy and her stalker friend, Grike.

Meanwhile Wren and Tom Natsworthy are flying their ship, the Jenny Haniver, from city to city. During one stop, Tom sees someone who he is sure is an old friend of his from his London days. She denies knowing him, but Tom is convinced he is right. He and Wren are then told that something is going on in the ruins of London, a traction city that was blown up many years ago. Unable to contain their curiosity they agree to fly to London to see what is going on.

Deep in bowels of the city of Cairo a small boy called Fishcake brings some more pieces of Old Tech to his lair where the Stalker Fang awaits him. Fishcake rebuilt the Stalker Fang and now that she is able to move, she is ready to fulfill what she thinks is her destiny – to re-green the world by getting rid of all human life.

In this book Philip Reeve brings his epic story about a futuristic world to a close with great skill. By switching to the present tense at unexpected moments, he catapults the reader into the action, making the story all the more exciting. Action packed battle scenes, tender moments when love is given a chance to assert itself, and a stunning ending, make this title highly satisfying and a great read for those who have been following the events in this superb series.