Mortal Engines left me so eager for more that I scoured all three bookshops in the town we were staying in for a copy of the sequel, Predator’s Gold, even though I suspected I was setting myself up for disappointment. Sequels aren’t usually as good, perhaps particularly in genre fiction, in part because the critical balance between novelty and familiarity is inevitably different when revisiting established characters and situations.
Of course there are exceptions that prove the rule, and happily, Predator’s Gold is one of them. Surviving characters from the first novel continue to grow and evolve (I’ll eschew specific spoilers, but if Reeve is perhaps not as cruel to his protagonists as, say, Joss Whedon, he’s assuredly not the sort of novelist from whom all sympathetic characters escape unscathed), and Reeve introduces new characters who also go through significant changes — there’s none of the stagnant quality to character dynamics that sometimes afflicts sequels. Some of Reeve’s people make appallingly bad choices in this novel, but that didn’t lessen my emotional involvement.
Reeve introduces a few nifty wrinkles to his world-building, and more importantly, deepens the moral complexity of the story; what was shaping up to be a a mostly-good versus mostly-evil conflict in the first novel becomes substantially more nuanced, nicely mirroring the good-people-doing-bad-things aspect of the plot. Speaking of the plot, it’s satisfyingly twisty and suspenseful. And once again I found Reeve’s language, coinages, and nomenclature delightful. I laughed aloud several times, and inflicted read-aloud passages on my patient wife.
needs more demons? no, no, and again, no.