Infernal Devices

At first there was nothing.

Just when you thought Philip Reeve was getting close to stale (more unlikely adventurers and humans-can-be-this-evil bad guys), he turns things upside down and creates with Infernal Devices just another thrilling fantasy novel.

This one starts with a ‘[amount of time] passed’ angle, risky because it can look sloppy (was the author bored of his own work?), but pulls it off with keeping the story close to that in the previous books. This time the protagonist is a daughter of the previous ones, and – not entirely willingly – she drops head first in a lot of adventure.

The world has evolved to war (again), the resistance is fleshed out some more and new parties give the now familiar experience some extra shine. There’s corruption, pirates and (double-)spies, slaves and coming-of-age lessons.

What I continue to like from these books is that one of the main characters is very unlikeable. She has some excuses for her behaviour, but is never woobified or excused. It is what it is and some people simply never change. All too often every character has likeable features, regularly even when it’s the bad guy. Hester continues to be black/white and adds some spice to the story that way.

Infernal Devices, Philip Reeve, Scholastic 2006

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